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wclausing
20 March 2005, 05:04 PM
I downloaded the Excel U.S. Federal Census templates from Gary Minder, El
Cajon, CA. In order to get the information on one page he has merged cells. When I try to sort all of the data by the "name" column I get the message that merged cells must be identical in size to perform this function. I need the solution to that error message from someone who understands Excel better than I.

I would also like to add a column to separate the first and last
name. That added column appears to be two merged cells which would
take the name but give the same problem in sorting.

dbarlowy
04 June 2005, 11:35 AM
If I'm understanding your question correctly and assume you are using some version of MSOffice for Mac . . .
You should be able to select all the "merged" cells, go to "Format", "Cells", then choose the "Allignment" tab. There should be a box in the lower left that is labelled "Text control". There you should be able to <unclick> the "Merge cells" option.

Unfortunately, what this may do is open a large number of extraneous blank cells on each line and not give you sufficient space in the first cell (the one where you'll likely see the entered text) to see your full text. Modify the column width will mess up the either the headings of the columns and/or the "all on one page" concept. If you can ignore that visual distraction or don't mind losing the concept, you'll be good to go.

Again, if I'm understanding your second question, . ..
You can take one of those 'revealed' cells and use it for first names--this will require re-entry of a bunch of info, but will allow for better sorting.

Here's a sort of example of the scenerio I just described ...
Say you originally had a columns of cells in which full names were entered, which may have looked something like this . . .

| Smith, John |
| Smith, Betty |
| Jones, Samuel |

but when you tried to sort them, you were told merged cells couldn't sort.
So you unmerged the cells and found out there were four cells on each line, like this . . .

| Smith, John | | | |
| Smith, Betty | | | |
| Jones, Samuel| | | |

If you want to sort both by Last and First name, move the First names to another cell/column, leaving the Last names--alone--in the primary column, like this . . .

| Smith | John | | |
| Smith | Betty | | |
| Jones | Samuel| | |

Same number of columns, info is now separate and sortable.

Hope this helps (and hasn't confused you more).

D Barlow