Converting Text to Columns in Excel

Today, I taught myself how to separate text in an Excel column into two columns with the Text To Columns function. This can be a huge time-saver when you have a lot of data to convert.

I have a spreadsheet with student info…name, email address, etc. The first and last names were in one column separated with a comma. Well, I needed the names in separate columns, and discovered the Text to Columns function. Now, I would like to share it with you.

It’s a good idea to create empty columns for your converted data to the right of the column holding the text you’d like to convert or split (first and last names for me). Then select the column you’d like to split and click Text to Columns on the Data tab on the Ribbon.

Text to Columns command on the Data tab in Excel

Text to Columns command on the Data tab in Excel

When you click the Text to Columns command, the Convert Text to Column Wizard dialog box appears with a two choices…Delimited or Fixed width. Use Delimited if the text in the column is separated with a comma, tab, semicolon, or a space; and choose Fixed if the text is aligned in columns with spaces between each field.

In the next step of the Wizard, you’ll choose the column format, like Text or General; and the destination column for your output. If you don’t choose a destination, the converted text will replace the original text in the column you selected earlier and flow into the column or columns to the right when you click Finish. It’s so easy and it works with Microsoft Excel 2007 or 2010 (Windows) and Excel 2011 (Mac). So cool!

I need to use this function two times a year; so if I forget it, I’ll refer to this blog post to refresh my memory. And,you can do the same.

I hope you found this Excel tip helpful. Post a comment if you have an Excel question for me!

Kathy

Microsoft Excel Online Classes Start Monthly

 

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About Kathy

I love being involved in education because I am always learning something new and exciting. I have been teaching and helping students for over 25 years with computer applications and keyboarding classes. Before computers, I helped students learn how to use dedicated word processors. It was a long time ago! Currently, I work at MiraCosta College, a community college in California, where I teach computer applications for the Computer Applications Department and keyboarding classes for the Business Office Technology Department. I teach one- and two-day computer courses through Community Services, and work as an Instructional Assistant II for the Academic Information Services Department. I’ve been enjoying my jobs at MiraCosta for over 20 years! Prior to MiraCosta, I worked at Eldorado Business College teaching word processing and business courses. And, for about 15 years I’ve been teaching online courses (PowerPoint 2010, 2007, & 2003, and Keyboarding) through Education to Go, a division of Cengage Learning. I find teaching and learning online an awarding experience. I enjoy reading, learning, traveling, and spending time with my family. Kathy

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2 Responses to Converting Text to Columns in Excel

  1. SEO USA October 2, 2012 at 8:41 pm #

    well said and written! Thanks so much

    • Kathy October 3, 2012 at 9:11 am #

      Thanks so much!

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