How to Find Merged Cells in Google Sheets: A Step-by-Step Guide

Merged cells in Google Sheets can be a headache if you’re not sure where they are. But don’t worry, finding them is easier than you think. All you need to do is follow a few simple steps to highlight those pesky merged cells and get your spreadsheet back on track.

Step by Step Tutorial: How to Find Merged Cells in Google Sheets

Before we dive into the steps, let’s talk about why you might need to find merged cells. Merged cells can cause issues when sorting data or applying filters. Identifying them can help you organize your data more effectively.

Step 1: Open your Google Sheets document

Start by opening the Google Sheets document you want to work on.

In this step, ensure you have the right document open. If you have multiple sheets within the document, make sure you’re on the correct one.

Step 2: Click on Format

Next, click on "Format" in the top menu bar.

This will open a dropdown menu. Look carefully for the next option we need.

Step 3: Select "Conditional formatting"

From the dropdown menu, select "Conditional formatting."

This will open a new panel on the right side of your screen. Here is where the magic happens!

Step 4: Create a new rule

In the conditional formatting panel, click on "Add new rule."

This is the first step to creating a rule that will help us identify merged cells.

Step 5: Set the Format cells if menu to "Custom formula is"

In the new rule menu, set the "Format cells if" dropdown menu to "Custom formula is."

This option allows us to enter a specific formula that will apply the formatting rule to our merged cells.

Step 6: Enter the formula "=COUNTIF(A1, "")>1"

In the field below the "Format cells if" menu, enter the formula "=COUNTIF(A1, "")>1".

This formula checks if the cell in question is merged with others. If so, our formatting rule will apply.

Step 7: Set a format style and click "Done"

Choose a format style, for example, a bold font or a background color, then click "Done."

This final step sets the rule into action. Your merged cells will be highlighted with the format style you chose.

After completing these steps, any merged cells in your Google Sheets document will be highlighted. This will make it easier for you to spot them and make necessary adjustments to your data.

Tips for Finding Merged Cells in Google Sheets

  • Always double-check the range your conditional formatting rule applies to. It should cover the entire sheet or the specific area you’re checking for merged cells.
  • Use a clear and distinct format style for the merged cells to ensure they stand out. A bright color or bold font can work well.
  • If you have a large sheet, zoom out to get a better overview of where the merged cells are located after applying the rule.
  • Remember that merged cells can affect how your data is sorted or filtered. It’s best practice to unmerge them if you’re planning to perform such actions.
  • Keep in mind that the formula used is case-sensitive, so be sure to enter it exactly as shown.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of finding merged cells in Google Sheets?

Merged cells can cause issues when sorting data or applying filters. Identifying them can help you organize your data more effectively.

Can I unmerge cells directly from the conditional formatting panel?

No, the conditional formatting panel is used only for identifying merged cells. To unmerge them, you will have to do so manually.

Will this method work for cells merged across rows and columns?

Yes, the formula used in the conditional formatting rule will identify cells merged both horizontally and vertically.

Can I use this method on a mobile device?

The steps are designed for the desktop version of Google Sheets. The mobile app may have different options and layouts.

What if I can’t find the "Conditional formatting" option?

Make sure you’re in the "Format" tab in the top menu bar. "Conditional formatting" should be in the dropdown menu. If not, you might need to update your Google Sheets or check your browser settings.


  1. Open your Google Sheets document
  2. Click on Format
  3. Select "Conditional formatting"
  4. Create a new rule
  5. Set the Format cells if menu to "Custom formula is"
  6. Enter the formula "=COUNTIF(A1, "")>1"
  7. Set a format style and click "Done"


Finding merged cells in Google Sheets doesn’t have to be a daunting task. By following the above steps, you’ll be able to quickly identify and handle any merged cells that could be causing you trouble. Remember, keeping your data organized and easy to navigate is crucial for effective data analysis and management. Clean up your sheets, unmerge those cells if necessary, and keep your data game strong! Whether you’re a spreadsheet newbie or a seasoned pro, understanding the ins and outs of Google Sheets can significantly boost your productivity. So, what are you waiting for? Dive into your spreadsheets and merge ahead with confidence!