How to Add Text to the Beginning or End of all Cells in Excel

There may be instances where you need to add the same text to all cells in a column. You might need to add a particular title before names in a list, or a particular symbol at the end of the text in every cell.

The good thing is you don’t need to do this manually.

Excel provides some really simple ways in which you can add text to the beginning and/ or end of the text in a range of cells.

In this tutorial we will see 4 ways to do this:

  • Using the ampersand operator (&)
  • Using the CONCATENATE function
  • Using the Flash Fill feature
  • Using VBA

So let’s get started!

Method 1: Using the ampersand Operator

An ampersand (&) can be used to easily combine text strings in Excel. Let’s see how you use it to add text at the beginning or end or both in Excel.

Using the ampersand Operator to Add Text to the Beginning of all Cells

The ampersand (&) is an operator that is mainly used to join several text strings into one.

Here’s how you can use it to add text to the beginning of all cells in a range. Let us assume you have the following list of names and want to add the title “Prof.” before every name:

Guest list data

Below are the  steps to add  a text before a text string in Excel:

  1. Click on the first cell of the column where you want the converted names to appear (B2).
  2. Type equal sign (=), followed by the text “Prof. “, followed by an ampersand (&).
  3. Select the cell containing the first name (A2).
  4. Press the Return Key.
  5. You will notice that the title “Prof.” is added before the first name in the list.Using formula to add text before the names
  6. It’s now time to copy this formula to the rest of the cells in the column. Simply double click the fill handle (located at the bottom right of cell B2). Alternatively, you can drag down the fill handle to achieve the same effect.

That’s it, all your cells in column B should now contain the title “Prof.” preceding each name.

Result when text is added

Using the ampersand Operator to Add Text to the End of all Cells

Now let us see how to add some text to the end of every name in the dataset. Let us say you want to add the text “(MD)” at the end of every name. In that case, here are the steps you need to follow:

  1. Click on the first cell of the column where you want the converted names to appear (C2 in our case).
  2. Type equal sign (=)
  3. Select the cell containing the first name (B2 in our case).
  4. Next, insert an ampersand (&), followed by the text “ (MD)”.
  5. Press the Return Key.
  6. You will notice that the text “(MD).” added after the first name in the list.Fromula to add text at the end of the string
  7. It’s now time to copy this formula to the rest of the cells in the column. Simply double click the fill handle (located at the bottom right of cell C2). Alternatively, you can drag down the fill handle to achieve the same effect.

All your cells in column C should now contain the text “(MD”) at the end of each name.

Adding text before and after a text string

Method 2: Using the CONCATENATE Function

CONCATENATE is an Excel function that you can use to add text at the beginning and end of the text string.

Let’s see how to use CONCATENATE to do this.

Using CONCATENATE to Add Text to the Beginning of all Cells

The CONCATENATE() function provides the same functionality as the ampersand (&) operator. The only difference is in the way both are used.

The general syntax for the CONCATENATE function is:

=CONCATENATE(text1, [text2], …)

Where text1, text2, etc. are substrings that you want to combine together.

Let’s apply the CONCATENATE function to the same dataset as above:

  1. Click on the first cell of the column where you want the converted names to appear (B2).
  2. Type equal sign (=).
  3. Enter the function CONCATENATE, followed by an opening bracket (.
  4. Type the title “Prof. ” in double-quotes, followed by a comma (,).
  5. Select the cell containing the first name (A2)
  6. Place a closing bracket. In our example, your formula should now be: =CONCATENATE(“Prof. “,A2).
  7. Press the Return Key.
  8. You will notice that the title “Prof.” is added before the first name on the list.CONCATENATE function to add text before the string
  9. It’s now time to copy this formula to the rest of the cells in the column. Simply double click the fill handle (located at the bottom right of cell B2). Alternatively, you can drag down the fill handle to achieve the same effect.

That’s it, all your cells in column B should now contain the title “Prof.” preceding each name.

CONCATENATE formula result

Using CONCATENATE to Add Text to the End of all Cells

Now let us see how to add some text to the end of every name in the dataset. Let us say you want to add the text “(MD)” at the end of every name. In that case, here are the steps you need to follow:

  1. Click on the first cell of the column where you want the converted names to appear (C2 in our example).
  2. Type equal sign (=).
  3. Enter the function CONCATENATE, followed by an opening bracket (.
  4. Select the cell containing the first name (B2 in our example).
  5. Next, insert a comma, followed by the text “ (MD)”.
  6. Place a closing bracket. In our example, your formula should now be: =CONCATENATE(B2,” (MD)”).
  7. Press the Return Key.
  8. You will notice that the text “(MD).” added after the first name in the list.CONCATENATE function to add text after the string
  9. It’s now time to copy this formula to the rest of the cells in the column. Simply double click the fill handle (located at the bottom right of cell C2).

All your cells in column C should now contain the text “(MD”) at the end of each name.

CONCATENATE formula result end

Notice that since you’re using a formula, your column C depends on columns A and B. So if you make any changes to the original values in column A, they get reflected in column C.

If you decide to only retain the converted names and delete columns A and B, you will get an error, as shown below:

Issue when deleting rhe dependent columns

To make sure that this does not happen, it’s best to first convert the formula results to permanent values copying them and pasting them as values in the same column (Right-click and select Paste Options->Values from the Popup menu).

Convert formulas to values

Now you can go ahead and delete columns A and B if you need to.

Method 3: Using the Flash Fill Feature

Flash fill is a relatively new feature that looks at the pattern of what you are trying to achieve and then does it for all the cells in a column.

You can also use Flash fill to so text manipulation as we will see in the following examples.

Using Flash Fill to Add Text to the Beginning of all Cells

The Excel flash fill feature is like a magical button. It is available if you’re on any Excel version from 2013 onwards.

The feature takes advantage of Excel’s pattern recognition capabilities. It basically recognizes a pattern in your data and automatically fills in the other cells of the column with the same pattern for you.

Here’s how you can use Flash Fill to add text to the beginning of all cells in a column:

  1. Click on the first cell of the column where you want the converted names to appear (B2).
  2. Manually type in the text Prof. , followed by the first name of your list.Type the expected result
  3. Press the Return Key.
  4. Click on cell B2 again.
  5. Under the Data tab, click on the Flash Fill button (in the ‘Data Tools’ group). Alternatively, you can just press CTRL+E on your keyboard (Command+E if you’re on a Mac).Click on Flash Fill

This will copy the same pattern to the rest of the cells in the column… in a flash!

Flash fill result

Using Flash Fill to Add Text to the End of all Cells in a Column

If you want to add the text “ (MD)” to the end of the names, follow the same steps:

  1. Click on the first cell of the column where you want the converted names to appear (C2).
  2. Manually type in or copy the text from column B2 into C2.
  3. Add the text “(MD)” after that.Type manually by adding the required text at the end of the string
  4. Under the Data tab, click on the Flash Fill or press CTRL+E on your keyboard (Command+E if you’re on a Mac).

That’s all, you get every cell filled in with the same pattern!

Final result of flash fill

We especially like this method because it is simple, quick, and easy. Moreover, since it’s formula-free, the results do not depend on the original columns.

So they remain unchanged even if you delete rows A and B!

Result in case you delete all the other columns

Method 4: Using VBA Code

And of course, if you’re comfortable with VBA, you can also add text before or after a text string using it.

Using VBA to Add Text to the Beginning of all Cells in a Column

If coding with VBA does not intimidate you then this method can help get your work done quickly too.

Here’s the code we will be using to add the title “Prof. “ to the beginning of all cells in a range. You can select and copy it:

Sub add_text_to_beginning()
Dim rng As Range
Dim cell As Range
Set rng = Application.Selection
For Each cell In rng
cell.Offset(0, 1).Value = "Prof. " & cell.Value
Next cell
End Sub

Follow these steps to use the above code:

  1. From the Developer Menu Ribbon, select Visual Basic.
  2. Once your VBA window opens, Click Insert->Module. Now you can start coding. Type or copy-paste the above lines of code into the module window. Your code is now ready to run.
  3. Select the range of cells containing the text you want to convert. Make sure the column next to it is blank because this is where the code will display the results.
  4. Navigate to Developer->Macros-> add_text_to_beginning->Run.

You will now see the converted text next to your selected range of cells.

Flash fill result

Note: You can change the text in line 6 from “Prof. ” to whatever text you need to add to the beginning of all cells.

Using VBA to Add Text to the End of all Cells in a Column

Now, what if you want to add text to the end of all the cells, instead of the beginning? This only involves making a tweak to line 6 of the above code. So if you want to add the text “ (MD)” to the end of all cells, change line 6 to:

cell.Offset(0, 1).Value = cell.Value & “ (MD)”

So your full code should now be:

Sub add_text_to_end()
Dim rng As Range
Dim cell As Range
Set rng = Application.Selection
For Each cell In rng
cell.Offset(0, 1).Value = cell.Value & " (MD)"
Next cell
End Sub

Here’s the final result:

Final result of flash fill

You can now delete the first two columns if you need to. Do remember to keep a backup of your sheet, because the results of VBA code are usually irreversible.

Note: You can change the text in line 6 from “ (MD)” to whatever text you need to add to the end of all cells in the range.

In this tutorial, we showed you four ways in which you can add text to the beginning and/ or end of all cells in a range.

There are plenty of other methods that you can find online too, and all of them work just as well as the ones shown here.

You may feel free to choose whatever method suits you, your requirement, and your version of Excel. In the end, what matters is getting what you need to be done quickly and effectively.

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