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How to unmerge and fill in identical values


I was wondering if there's an easy way to do this. I have a spreadsheet with about 8,000 rows. It is supposed to be something like this (please disregard all except the first column)

1 a a x x
1 b a x z
1 c a a z
2 a s d z
2 k a z c

but it was entered in such a way that Cells A1-A3 where merged and centered with just one entry of 1, and Cells A4-A5 were merged/centered with one value of 2. There are almost 8000 such rows, and identical / repeats in the first column are different (e.g. in the example above there are three 1s but just two 2s. Each of this "grouping" variable can be as many as 100 rows, or as few as just one row.

Can someone show me what's an efficient way of Unmerge this and turn it into the format shown above (i.e. no merged cells)?

Much appreciated
1 Solution
Tony BarkdullCommented:
Highlight All merged cells, right click and format cells. On the Alignment tab, uncheck the Merge cells box. Then set the Horizontal alignment above to General. Click OK.
Maybe I'm missing sumething but you should be able to select all (CTRL-A) and the unmerge everything... then you could delete the empty columns which would shift it all over the way you want...
I think you need a bit of VBA code to do the unmerge, AND populate all the unmerged cells with the proper data.

Here's the code, which looks at column A for the merged cells:

Hit Alt-F11, create a public module in the VBA editor, and add the code below (copy/paste) to the public module.  The code runs on the active sheet, assuming data starts in Column A, Row 2 until there's no data.  The app determines merged areas, gets the value for the merged area, unmerges, then sets the value to that just-unmerged area, as appropriate.

Sub unmergeAndFix()
Dim wkb As Workbook
Dim sht As Worksheet
Dim r As Range, rInArea As Range, vMgValue As Variant
Dim mAreaCount As Long

    Set wkb = ActiveWorkbook
    Set sht = wkb.ActiveSheet
    For Each r In sht.Range("A2", sht.Range("A" & sht.Rows.Count).End(xlUp))
        If r.MergeArea.Count > 1 Then 'propogate data, then unmerge
            'first get the value on the merged area
            For Each rInArea In r.MergeArea
                If rInArea.Value <> "" Then
                    vMgValue = rInArea.Value
                    Exit For
                End If
            Next rInArea
            Set rInArea = r.MergeArea 'hold this address
            'now, breakup the merge
            'now, set each element in the merged area to that value
            rInArea.Value = vMgValue

         End If
    Next r
End Sub

Open in new window

Attached, please find a demonstration workbook.


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Whoops - I did this on a rowbasis... Column basis coming...


Wait a sec - maybe I did do this right...  I was thrown off by jsdray's comment, re: columns

@ocan Please advise - Column A is the focus column, correct?  If so, please see my post (the one with code and demo file, above), if not, please clarify.

Patrick MatthewsCommented:
Another approach:

Sub UnMergeThem()
    Dim LastR As Long, LastC
    Dim arr As Variant
    Dim Counter As Long
    Dim TheValue As Variant
    Dim TestValue As Variant
    With ActiveSheet
        LastR = .Cells(.Rows.Count, "b").End(xlUp).Row
        LastC = .Cells(1, .Columns.Count).End(xlToLeft).Column
        .Range("a1:a" & LastR).UnMerge
        arr = .Range("a1", .Cells(LastR, LastC)).Value
        For Counter = 1 To LastR
            TestValue = arr(Counter, 1)
            If TestValue <> "" Then
                TheValue = TestValue
                arr(Counter, 1) = TheValue
            End If
        .Range("a1", .Cells(LastR, LastC)).Value = arr
    End With
    MsgBox "Done"
End Sub

Open in new window

Ingeborg Hawighorst (Microsoft MVP / EE MVE)Microsoft MVP ExcelCommented:

if I understand the question correctly, there's also a non-VBA approach:

Select column A and unmerge

With Column A still selected, hit the F5 function key. In the next box, click the Special button, tick Blanks and hit OK

all blank cells are now selected and the top blank cell has the focus
enter a = sign, hit the up arrow, hold down the Ctrl key and hit Enter

Now all the numbers are filled in.

You can now copy column A and paste it with Paste Special > Values to replace the formulas with their values.  

cheers, teylyn
ocanAuthor Commented:
Thanks to everyone who responded - I am amazed to see so many responses during the weekend. I choose Teylyn's answer because it is very straightforward and easy to follow; better yet, no coding is involved! This is a blessing for me who doesn't know much about VBA.

For other responses, please excuse my ignorance but I haven't got a chance to try it (not sure how to run the code)
Patrick MatthewsCommented:

No worries, and glad you got the help you needed.

Patrick MatthewsCommented:
BTW, for the future, if you have a preference one way or another as to whether the solution should use code, it would be good to state that up front.

great solution, teylyn.  I keep forgetting the goto special option! :)
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