How to parse data using the Text To Columns command in Excel


This article contains information about how to parse data in Microsoft Excel by using the Text To Columns command.

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If you copy data from another program and paste it into Microsoft Excel, Excel may condense several columns of data to a single column. You can use the Text To Columns command on the Data menu to put each record in a separate column. The range that you convert may contain many rows, but you can only convert one column of data at a time.

To create an example that demonstrates how to use the Text To Columns command:

  1. Create a new workbook.
  2. In Sheet1, type the following data:

    A1: The,dog,ran
    A2: abc,def
    A3: abcdefg,hijkl
    A4: 2554,4874,41
  3. Select the range A1:A4.
  4. On the Data menu, click Text to Columns.
  5. In Step 1 of the Convert Text To Columns Wizard, make sure that the Delimited option is selected, and then click Next.
  6. In Step 2 of the Convert Text To Columns Wizard, click to select the Comma check box under Delimiters, and then click Next.

    NOTE: All of the check boxes under Delimiters should be cleared except for the Comma check box.
  7. In Step 3 of the Convert Text To Columns Wizard, type B1 in the Destination box, and then click Finish.
Your data is parsed into separate columns, beginning with column B, and the data in Sheet1 should resemble the following:

A1: The,dog,ran B1: The C1: dog D1: ran
A2: abc,def B2: abc C2: def
A3: abcdefg,hijkl B3: abcdefg C3: hijkll
A4: 2554,4874,41 B4: 2554 C4: 4874 D5: 41
Note The example illustrates data with commas as the delimiter. This is only one of several delimiters that you may see in your data. For example, if you have Names in a column of data, consisting of first and last name in a single cell separated by a Space, the Space character can be used as a delimiter to separate the first and last names into adjacent cells instead of the same cell.


For more information about parsing data, click Microsoft Excel Help on the Help menu, type parse data in the Office Assistant or the Answer Wizard, and then click Search to view the topics returned.

Article ID: 214261 - Last Review: Sep 18, 2011 - Revision: 1