Thursday, December 16, 2010

Concatenation Revisited

This is one of my favorite time savers. I teach Excel, and I have had classes as large as 200 students. Since I believe strongly in frequent communication, I keep in touch with individual students and the group as a whole. Having a spreadsheet of student names (or company employees perhaps) is great to stay organized, but what if you want to use your data for sending emails? This is where Concatenation Shines!

Consider that you have a list of students with the First Names in Column A and Last Names in Column B. The good news is that you can easily combine them into an Email-Friendly column of names in a “Last Name, First Name” format is easy. The secret to Concatenation is using Ampersands and cell references combined with quoted text or punctuation. Here’s how to do it:

Assuming your table starts in cell A1, put the following formula in C1 (be sure to note that there is a space after the comma in quotation marks):

=B1&", "&A1

This simple formula combines the contents of B1 (last name)with a comma, space, and contents of A1 (first name). Select C1, place your cursor over the “handle” in the lower-right corner of the cell, and give a quick double-click. This will populate your Column C Email List down as far as you have data in Columns A and B.

Then it is a simple matter of copying the contents of Column C, and pasting into Outlook. Bamm! You have just saved a Ton of Time!

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