A Better Way to Split Data from an Excel Cell

In the July 2003 Tech Q&A (page 84), we told you how to combine data from two Excel cells into one and how to separate data into two cells. Nancy Locke, a CPA from Jacksonville, Florida, suggests another way to split a name in one cell and put it into two. Begin by copying the name (or a list of names) and paste it into Notepad, which is a word processor that comes as a free Windows accessory. (To launch Notepad click on Start , All Programs , Accessories and Notepad .) Then save the Notepad file and close it. Now open the Notepad file in Excel; however, to be able to see it, you will have to change Files of type from this:

to this:

Now click on Open . Since the file is stored as text (.txt), Excel will automatically open its Text Import Wizard and step you through the process of importing information. The wizard can handle not just one column, but many columns at one time. The technique works with data separated by commas or tabs ( Delimited ) and names separated by spaces ( Fixed width ).

To customize the imported data under Fixed width , adjust the arrow that separates the names.

And the result is the name is split—one in each cell.

Do you have technology questions for this column? Or, after reading an answer, do you have a better solution? Send them to contributing editor Stanley Zarowin via e-mail at zarowin@mindspring.com .

Because of the volume of mail, we regret we cannot individually answer submitted questions. However, if a reader’s question has broad interest, we will answer it in a forthcoming Technology Q&A column.

On occasion you may find you cannot implement a function I describe in this column. More often than not it’s because not all functions work in every operating system or application. I try to test everything in the 2000 and XP editions of Windows and Office. It’s virtually impossible to test them in all editions and it’s equally difficult to find out which editions are incompatible with a function. I apologize for the inconvenience.


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