How to Preserve Trailing Zeros When Importing Data

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When you import data into Microsoft Access, trailing zeros may be lost. This will happen when you import data that is formatted to show these zeros, but where the zeros are not actually part of the data. For example, in a Microsoft Excel workbook, you can format the number 1234 so that it will be displayed as 1234.000. When you import this workbook into a Microsoft Access table, the number will be displayed as 1234. This article shows you how to preserve trailing zeros when you import data into Microsoft Access.


The following example illustrates how to import formatted numeric data from a Microsoft Excel worksheet into a Microsoft Access database, and then how to create a query that filters the numbers.

Creating the Import Data File

This section shows you how to create a Microsoft Excel worksheet that has numbers formatted to contain trailing zeros in each cell. It then shows you how to save the worksheet to a text file to retain the trailing zeros. These trailing zeros are part of the number format, not part of the data itself.
  1. Start Microsoft Excel.
  2. Type the following data:
          A1: 1234
          A2: 3.7
          A3: 45.01
          A4: 15.75
  3. For each of the following cells, on the Format menu, click Cells. In the Category list, click Number. Type the following numbers in the Decimal places box, and then click OK:
          A1: 3
          A2: 2
          A3: 4
          A4: 3

    Notice that the numbers appear in the following format:
          A1: 1234.000
          A2: 3.70
          A3: 45.0100
          A4: 15.750

  4. On the File menu, click Save As. In the File Name box, type Import. In the Save As Type list, click Text (Tab delimited)(*.txt). Click Save. Click OK.
  5. On the File menu, click Exit. Click No because the file was saved in the previous step.
NOTE: If you receive a warning that says "The selected file type does not support workbooks that contain multiple sheets," click OK.

Importing the Data

This section shows you how to import the data into Microsoft Access.

NOTE: The numbers in the new table will appear the same as they did in the Excel workbook.
  1. Start Microsoft Access.
  2. Open the sample database, Northwind.mdb.
  3. On the File menu, point to Get External Data, and then click Import.
  4. In the Files Of Type list, click Text files (*.txt;*.csv;*.tab;*.asc). Click Import.txt, and then click Import.
  5. On the first screen of the Text Import Wizard, click Delimited, and then click Next.
  6. When the Text Import Wizard asks you to Choose Your Delimeter, click the Tab option, and then click Next.
  7. Click Next again to skip the question about a New or Existing table, and then click Next.
  8. Type TextNumbers in the Field Name box and in the Data Type list, click Text. Click Next.
  9. On the fifth screen of the Text Import Wizard, click No Primary Key. Click Finish, and then click OK.

Using the Numeric Value of the Data

The following example shows how you can use the CVar() function to have the contents of the field be evaluated as a number data type rather than as a text data type. Because the data is in a text format, you may not receive the expected results when running the query, unless you use the numeric value of the number.
  1. Create the following query:
          Query: qryImport
          Type: Make Table Query
          Field: RealNumbers: CVar([TextNumbers])
          Criteria: >20

  2. On the Query menu, click Run.
  3. On the File menu, click Save. Type qryImport, and then click OK.
  4. On the File menu, click Close.
NOTE: The trailing zeros will be lost if you perform a calculation on the number. For example, the trailing zeros will be lost if you change the field in Step 1 to the following:
   Field: RealNumbers: CVar([TextNumbers])*1


For more information about data types, click Contents And Index on the Help menu, click the Index tab in Microsoft Access Help, type the following text data type and then double-click the selected text to go to the "Type Conversion Functions" topic. If you are unable to find the information you need, ask the Office Assistant.


Article ID: 192041 - Last Review: October 10, 2013 - Revision: 2.1
  • Microsoft Access 2.0 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Access 95 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Access 97 Standard Edition
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