How do I split a cell in Excel?

Link to YouTube video

If you’ve arrived on this page through a Google search, you will be both disappointed and pleased to know that:

  1. You can’t actually split cells in Excel
  2. But you can kind of work around it, so it looks like you’ve split a cell.

OK, so point 1 doesn’t need a lot of coverage; there just isn’t an option to “split cell” like there is in Microsoft Word.  When I first came across this restriction, I had just begun working with Excel, and I was certain that I just wasn’t looking hard enough.  18 years later and I still haven’t stumbled across that feature so here’s how to work around it instead.

So let’s imagine you have made the table below, and you decide that you actually want to split column B so that instead of “Name / Surname” you have two separate columns:


Instead of splitting column B (or splitting any of the cells in column B) you need to insert a new column between columns B and C.  To do this you need to select column C by clicking on the grey C at the top of the column, right clicking and then select “Insert”


You’re left with a table with a new blank column:


If you wish to then merge the column heading “Name / Surname” across column headings B and C (or any other cells for that matter), then simply select cells B1 and C1 by clicking down in cell B1 and dragging across to C1, and then in the Home ribbon click “Merge and Center”


So there you have it, it now looks as if the cells in column B have been split:


All that remains is to separate out your data into the two new columns.  There is a fast way to do this (using flash fill) but that is for another tutorial.  Here’s the end result:


Here’s our YouTube video on the same subject:

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