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6 Ways to Combine First and Last Names in Google Sheets

Combining first and last names is a common task in spreadsheet management, especially when dealing with contact lists, customer databases, or other forms of data organization. Fortunately, Google Sheets offers multiple options to help you easily combine names for an easier workflow.

However, if you’re just learning to use Google Sheets or are not proficient with the program, this might be more challenging than first expected. But worry not.

This post will look at how to combine first and last names in Google Sheets to help you streamline your data processing tasks. Keep reading to learn more.

Download the Example Google Sheet

You can download or copy the following Google Sheet that contains the spreadsheets and datasets we will use to demonstrate in this tutorial.

Click Here to Copy the Sample Sheet

If you have your own dataset ready to practice the things we discuss in the following sections, you can skip downloading the above file.

Method 1: Using the Concatenate Function

The Concatenate function is one of the most efficient ways to combine first and last names in Google Sheets. Below, we have a list of first and last names to guide you through the process of using the function to combine them.

Here is how the list looks.

To combine the two names:

Step 1: Select a Cell

Select cell C2 and highlight it to start typing. This is the cell where your combined names will be returned.

Step 2: Input Formula

Input this formula:


Step 3: Press Enter

Once you press enter, the column should autofill with the combined names, as seen below. 

And just like that, your first and last names on your list are combined. You should also note that this method adds a comma and has no spaces between the two combined names, which may not be ideal sometimes.

However, that’s not all. If you’d like to add spaces between your names, there is a convenient way to do so using the function.

Step 4: Reopen the Formula

Simply go back to cell C2 and double-click on it to reopen the Concatenate formula. Then, place your cursor after the comma after the first quotation mark.

Step 5: Add a Space

Add a space between the comma after the first quotation mark and the second quotation mark.

Step 6: Press Enter

Once you press enter, a space should separate your combined first and last names after the comma, as seen below.

As you can tell, the Concatenate formula is versatile and has many applications when dealing with data on Google Sheets. Below, we highlight some of its uses:

  • Basic text Concatenation: combine two or more text strings or cell values to create a single text string. For example, you can concatenate a first and last names to form a full name.
  • Inserting delimiters: use Concatenate to add delimiters like spaces, commas, hyphens, or slashes between concatenated text strings. This is useful for formatting data.
  • Concatenating fixed text: combine fixed text with cell values. This is handy when you want to create labels or headings.
  • Creating hyperlinks: construct clickable hyperlinks by concatenating text with URL components.
  • Concatenating text with numbers: combine text and numerical values, such as product codes or invoice numbers, to create unique identifiers.
  • Creating dynamic formulas: use Concatenate within more complex formulas to dynamically generate text strings or formulas based on changing data.
  • Working with legacy spreadsheets: in some older spreadsheet files or systems, you may encounter the Concatenate function more frequently as it was commonly used before the introduction of the & operator.

Pros of Using the Concatenate Formula

  • Simple syntax: easy to follow for beginners with straightforward steps
  • Control over delimiters: provides precise formatting control with delimiters
  • Readability: formulas are concise and easy to read
  • Compatibility: compatible with older spreadsheet software
  • Special character handling: handles special characters and symbols
  • Explicit concatenation: clearly indicates text combination

Cons of Using the Concatenate Formula

  • Limited to text: limited to text data and requires conversion for other types
  • Verbose for multiple concatenations: becomes lengthy with multiple elements
  • Less flexible than “&” operator: may seem complex for simple tasks compared to the “&” operator
  • Potential for error: manual delimiter management increases the risk of mistakes
  • Not ideal for dynamic data: requires adjustments with changing data
  • Difficulty with large data sets: complex concatenation can be unwieldy for large datasets

Method 2: Using the “&” Operator 

Alternatively, you can use the “&” operator, which simplifies the process. We say simplifies because, as you shall shortly see, it’s not in the Google Sheets repertoire of combining names and does not require as many details, but it works. 

We shall also use the same list of names as in the previous example. To use this method, here are the steps you need to follow:

Step 1: Select a Cell

Select the cell you want your combined names returned. In our case, it will be the same cell as the previous example, cell C2. 

Step 2: Enter the Formula

Type in this formula: =A2&” “&B2, as seen below. Note that you don’t get suggestions as usual with other conventional formulas as you type the formula. 

Step 3: Press Enter

When you press enter, the cell will autofill with the combined names. 

To copy and apply the formula to the rest of the cells in the column, click and drag the small nob on the side of the cell with the combined name. Here is how it will look after.

Now, your combined list should be ready to go. Below, we’ve also highlighted some uses of the “&” Operator:

  • Basic text concatenation: the primary use of the “&” operator is to combine (concatenate) two or more text strings or cell values into a single text string.
  • Inserting delimiters: you can easily insert delimiters, such as spaces, commas, hyphens, or other characters, between concatenated elements, allowing you to format your data as needed.
  • Concatenating text with numbers: combine text and numerical values to create unique identifiers, such as product codes or invoice numbers.
  • Handling non-text data: unlike some other concatenation methods, the “&” operator automatically converts non-text data (e.g., numbers, dates) to text format for concatenation.
  • Creating user-friendly text: enhance the readability of data in reports or dashboards by formatting text strings with appropriate spacing and punctuation.
  • Creating dynamic labels: construct labels or headings that dynamically update as data changes.
  • Conditional concatenation: you can use the “&” operator within conditional functions like IF to create text concatenations based on specific conditions.

Pros of Using the “&” Operator

  • Concise: simple and concise for text concatenation
  • Flexibility: handles various data types automatically
  • Readability: formulas are often more readable
  • Immediate preview: offers a real-time preview of concatenated text
  • Compatibility: works across different spreadsheet platforms

Cons of Using the “&” Operator

  • Explicit delimiters: requires explicit delimiters in formulas
  • Potential for errors: data type mismatches can lead to errors
  • Complex formulas: can become lengthy with complex concatenations
  • Manual conversion: may need manual data type conversion
  • Not Ideal for large data: may clutter formulas in large datasets

Method 3: Using the Concat Function

The Concat function is another alternative method to combine names in Google Sheets. It works similarly to the Concatenate function, but unlike the former, the results don’t have a comma between them, nor do they have a space. 

But before we get too far ahead, here is a step-by-step guide to using the Concat function in Google Sheets using the same data set as the previous examples. 

Step 1: Select a Cell

As with the other methods, select and highlight the cell you want to return your results. In our example, this is going to be cell C2. 

Step 2: Input the Formula

Type in this formula to return combined names to your selected cell: =CONCAT(A2, B2).

Step 3: Press Enter

Once you press enter, the entire column should auto-fill with the combined names.

Here are some uses of the Concat function:

  • Inserting delimiters: You can use Concat to insert delimiters like spaces, commas, or other characters between concatenated elements, allowing you to format your data as needed.
  • Handling empty cells: Concat can handle empty cells without causing errors, making it suitable for data with missing values.
  • Creating unique identifiers: generate unique identifiers or keys by concatenating components like customer IDs, product codes, or timestamps.

Pros of Using the Concat Function

  • Simple syntax: easy-to-understand formula syntax
  • Compatibility: works with older spreadsheet software
  • No delimiter Management: automatically handles delimiters
  • Handling empty cells: doesn’t produce errors with empty cells

Cons of Using the Concat Function

  • Limited to text concatenation: primarily for text; limited formatting
  • No auto-conversion of non-text data: requires manual conversion of non-text data
  • Not Ideal for complex concatenations: Complex formatting can lead to lengthy formulas
  • Manual data type conversion: may need manual non-text data conversion

Method 4: The Textjoin Function

The Textjoin function is especially useful when combining text from multiple cells with specified delimiters. A delimiter is one or more character or value that separates a string of text. 

This can be useful when dealing with data such as dates or addresses. In this example, we will use an address recorded in different cells to demonstrate how the Textjoin function functions. 

Here is the sample Google Sheets.

To combine the address into one single cell, follow these simple steps:

Step 1: Select a Cell

In our case, we will pick the F column and, in cell F1, add the title Full Address. Then, highlight cell F2 as the location we want to return our result. 

Step 2: Input the Formula

Input this formula into cell F2: =TEXTJOIN(", ",true,A2:E2), as seen below. 

Step 3: Press Enter

Once you press enter, the combined address should auto-fill in cell F2, separated by commas, as seen below. 

The Textjoin function has several uses; we’ve highlighted a few:

  • Concatenating names: combine first and last names from separate cells to create full names for contact lists or databases.
  • Address formatting: create well-structured addresses by joining address components like street names, cities, states, and postal codes.
  • List generation: generate lists of items from multiple cells or ranges, separated by commas, semicolons, or other delimiters.
  • Creating summaries: build summary text or labels that consolidate information from different cells or data ranges into a single cell, facilitating reporting and analysis.
  • Email formatting: combine usernames and domain names to create email addresses in a consistent format, as well as combine them from a list into a single field for mass email communications.
  • Creating URLs: construct URLs by joining website domains with specific paths or parameters.

Pros of Using the Textjoin Function

  • Flexible text concatenation: powerful for combining text strings
  • Customizable delimiters: allows precise formatting control
  • Handling empty cells: ignores empty cells to maintain formatting
  • Dynamic data: updates automatically with changing source data
  • Versatile data ranges: applies to cells, columns, or data subsets
  • Conditional concatenation: customized output based on conditions

Cons of using the Textjoin Function

  • Function complexity: more complex setup compared to basic concatenation methods
  • Compatibility: may not be supported in older software versions
  • Performance considerations: impact on performance in vast datasets
  • Learning curve: may require more familiarity for beginners

Method 5: Copy and Paste

Copy and paste is one of the easiest ways, even though it’s more cumbersome than using formulas to combine first and last names in Google Sheets. 

It works by simply copying the first name from one cell and pasting it into a new one. Then, copying the last name from another cell and pasting it in the same cell you pasted the first name to combine them. 

Nonetheless, here is a step-by-step guide on how to combine first and last names using the copy-and-paste method. We will use the list of names from our first example.

Step 1: Copy a Name

Tripple click on cell A2 to highlight the first name, Austtin. Then right-click to reveal a new menu option and select copy. 

Step 2: Pick a Cell

Pick the cell you want to return your results to, or in this case, copy and paste your names. We will use cell C2. 

Step 3: Paste the Name into the New Cell

Click cell C2, right-click your mouse to reveal a new menu option, and select paste. 

Step 4: Repeat with the Last Name

Now that you have already copied and pasted the first name and know how it works, copy and paste the last name into the same cell. Remember to include a space between the two, which should look like this. 

Moreover, repeat the same for every single name you want to combine until you’re done. Admittedly, this method is a bit work extensive, slow, and only has minimal applications, but it’s one of the most accurate. As such, we will jump straight into the pros and cons. 

Pros of Using Copy and Paste

  • Accurate: using this method ensures the most faultless results
  • Handling empty cells: because you’re the one copying and pasting, you can just skip over empty cells
  • Simple to use: easy even for beginners to combine names using this method
  • Control over delimiters: you have more control over your formatting options

Cons of Using Copy and Paste

  • Slow: Copying and pasting names takes time and effort
  • Limited applications: you can only use this method for simple tasks such as physically combining names, but not for analytical purposes
  • No customization: the copy and paste function only does that and cannot be customized or used with other formats

Method 6: Using Google Apps Script

Google Apps Script provides even greater flexibility for advanced users or complex scenarios. Here’s a basic example of how to write a script to combine names:

Step 1: Open the App Script

On the top bar menu, click on Extension to reveal a new menu option. Click on the App Script option to open up a new tab. 

Step 2: Write a Custom Script

Once the new tab opens, type in this script: function combineNames(first,last) {

  return first + ” ” + last;}, as seen below.

Then press Command + S to save the script. 

Step 3: Input the Custom Formula

Return to your Google Sheets document and click cell C2 to input your custom formula. Once that is done, copy this formula: =combineNames(A2, B2).

Step 4: Press Enter

Once you press enter, cell C2 should auto-fill with the combined names from the adjacent cells. 

To auto-fill the remaining cells in the column, click on the small nob on the right corner of the active cell and drag it down. 

As you can see, using the Google App Script function to create a custom formula is relatively easy. It’s also an excellent way to create custom formulas that fit your use case scenarios once you learn to work with them.  


Mastering the art of text concatenation in spreadsheet applications is an invaluable skill for both personal and professional data manipulation tasks. It allows you to combine first and last names confidently and even add conditions that improve how your data is displayed. 

Whether you choose the simplicity of the “&” operator, the versatility of the Concatenate function, or the dynamic capabilities of the Textjoin function, each has its unique strengths and use cases. Regardless of your choice, these concatenation techniques empower you to transform data into well-structured, informative, and presentable formats, facilitating practical data analysis, reporting, and communication. 

We hope this post has enlightened you and you’ve learned how to combine first and last names in Google Sheets. So, pick the method that suits your needs and let your data speak clearly and precisely.


What is text concatenation, and why is it useful in spreadsheets?

Text concatenation combines or joins multiple text strings or cell values into a single text string. It’s helpful in spreadsheets for creating complete names, addresses, labels, hyperlinks, and more by merging data from different cells or sources.

What’s the difference between the “&” operator and Concatenate?

The “&” operator and Concatenate both combine text, but “&” is simpler and often preferred for basic concatenation tasks. Concatenate allows for more complex formatting and helps maintain compatibility with older spreadsheet software.

When should I use the Textjoin function?

Textjoin is ideal for tasks that require flexible text concatenation with custom delimiters, handling empty cells, creating dynamic reports, or conditional concatenation based on specific criteria. It excels in complex text manipulation scenarios.

Can I use these methods with non-text data, like numbers or dates?

You can use these methods with non-text data. “&” and Concatenate automatically convert non-text data to text. Textjoin can handle various data types and convert them as needed.

How do I handle empty cells during concatenation?

The “&” operator and Concatenate do not handle empty cells well; you must manually manage them. Textjoin, however, can ignore empty cells, ensuring your concatenation remains clean.

Which method is best for creating dynamic reports or summaries?

Textjoin is the preferred choice for creating dynamic reports that update automatically as your data changes. It’s particularly useful when you want your report to stay current with evolving data.

Are these methods compatible with older spreadsheet software?

The “&” operator is widely compatible, while Concatenate is better for maintaining compatibility with older software. Textjoin may not be supported in very old versions.

Are there performance considerations when using these methods in large datasets?

In very large datasets, extensive use of Concatenate or Textjoin may impact spreadsheet performance. Careful formula design can help mitigate this.

Can I use these methods to create hyperlinks in my spreadsheet?

Using these methods, you can create clickable hyperlinks by combining text with appropriate URL components or functions like HYPERLINK.

Which method is best for beginners?

The “&” operator is the simplest and most beginner-friendly choice for basic concatenation. Concatenate is also relatively straightforward. Textjoin, while powerful, may have a steeper learning curve for beginners due to its advanced features.

Are there any limitations or downsides to using the “&” operator for text concatenation?

While the “&” operator is simple and versatile, it may not be the best choice for complex formatting or advanced concatenation tasks. It also doesn’t handle empty cells or custom delimiters as seamlessly as Textjoin.

When should I consider using the Concatenate function over the “&” operator?

Concatenate is useful when you need to create well-structured, readable formulas and when you want to ensure compatibility with older spreadsheet software. It’s particularly helpful when dealing with extensive concatenations or complex formatting.

Can I nest Concatenate or Textjoin functions within other formulas for more advanced calculations?

You can nest Concatenate or Textjoin within other formulas to create dynamic and complex calculations. This allows you to generate text strings or formulas based on changing data or conditions.

Other Related Google Sheets Tutorials

How to Combine Cells in Google Sheets (6 Quick Formulas)

How to Sort by Last Name in Google Sheets (Quick Guide)

How to Capitalize the First Letter of a Text String in Google Sheets