I am using Excel in Office 365.

I formatted a section of a spreadsheet as a table. In the header row I want several columns to have the exact same heading. Here's a nonsensical example to illustrate the issue. This is what I want:


But this is what I get when I try to type (or copy+paste) the second set of headings:

enter image description here

As you can see, Excel added "2" to the second set of headings.

(Note that in my example, I've manually added a "super-header" (which is not part of the table), so I know what is meant by looking at it.)

It seems that Excel doesn't permit duplicate heading labels in a section that has been formatted as table. My workaround has been to manually add trailing spaces after the text I want to duplicate.

In my actual spreadsheet, I have many sets like that and I want to just paste in duplicated headings across the row. But Excel adds numbers serially across the row and the only way I've found to get what I want is the workaround I mention above.

I would like to "convince" Excel to trust that I know what I'm doing in how I name columns and not try to "fix" it for me. I checked the Excel options and searched for this issue online, to no avail.

Any ideas?

  • 2
    Yes. Smart tables allows to refer to a data using column name - so it must be unique. – Akina Feb 12 at 11:48
  • 2
    Consider rearranging your data into 3 columns (animal[?], eat drink), then pivot it and you should be able to get your result visually. – gns100 Feb 12 at 18:10

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