If you want to be able to sort data and still have information centered across several columns, substitute Center Across Selection for Merge and Center. Do this:

  1. Select the cells that you want to merge — columns only. (You will need to use merge and center for rows.)
  2. Press Control + 1 to open Format Cells dialogue box
  3. Go to Alignment Tab
  4. In Horizontal drop down, select Center Across Selection
  5. Click OK