Every day, most analysts merge data in Excel and other spreadsheet programs to get better insights. Consolidating data in Excel is part of a bigger process called data preparation, but as the number of new data sources increases, merging data in spreadsheets is getting harder to do.

Because we at Trifacta are passionate about creating radical productivity for business analysts, we became experts in data preparation. Even though we make software that replaces Excel in some cases, inside our company we still merge data in Excel just like you do, because sometimes it’s still the right tool for the right job.  So, we know from firsthand experience when consolidating data with a spreadsheet is a good idea, and how to do it well.

As it turns out,  the terms “Merge” and “Consolidate” in Excel, refer to two separate functions. So we created a short guide to understanding them both, as well as what to do when consolidating data in Excel is no longer an option.