Text to Columns in Excel

Article byJeevan A Y
Edited byAshish Kumar Srivastav
Reviewed byDheeraj Vaidya, CFA, FRM

Excel Text to Columns

Text to columns in Excel is a method that is used to separate a text into different columns based on some delimited or any fixed width. There are two options to use text to columns in Excel. One is using a delimiter where we provide a delimiter as an input such as comma space or hyphen, or we can use a fixed defined width to separate a text in the adjacent columns.

Where to Find Text to Columns Option in Excel?

To access text to columns in Excel, go to the Data tab, then Data Tools and Text to Columns.

Text to Columns in Excel 2

The keyboard shortcut to open text to columns is – ALT + A + E.

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How to Split Text to Columns in Excel? (with Examples)

You can download this Text to Columns Excel Template here – Text to Columns Excel Template

Examples #1: Split First Name and Last Name

Assume you have a list of names that includes both first and last names in a single column.

You can download this Text to Columns Excel Template here – Text to Columns Excel Template

Now, you need to split the first name and last nameSplit The First Name And Last NameSplit Name in Excel refers to separating the names into two distinct columns. It splits the whole name into First Name, Last Name, and Middle Name. We can separate names using several ways such as the "Text to Column technique" and the "Formula technique.read more separately.

Text to Columns in Excel example 1

We need to split the first and last names and get these in separate cells.

Below are the steps for splitting first name and last name into separate cells:

  1. Select the data.


    Text to Columns in Excel example 1-1

  2. Then, press “ALT + A +E.” It will open the “Convert Text to Columns Wizard.”


    Text to Columns in Excel example 1-2

  3. Now, make sure “Delimited” is selected and click on “Next.”


    Text to Columns in Excel example 1-3

  4. In the next step, uncheck “TAB” and select “SPACE” as the delimiter. If you think of double/triple consecutive spaces between the names, choose the “Treat consecutive delimiters as one” option. Finally, click on “Next.”


    Text to Columns in Excel example 1-4

  5. Select the destination cell. If you do not select a destination cell, it will overwrite the existing data set with the first name in the first column and the last name in the adjacent column. If you want to keep the original data intact, create a copy or choose a different destination cell.


    Text to Columns in Excel example 1-5

  6. Click on “FINISH.” That will split the first name and last name separately.


    Text to Columns in Excel example 1-6

    Note: This technique is ideal only for first names and last names. You need to use a different approach if there are initials and middle names.

Examples 2: Convert Single Column Data into Multiple Columns

Let us see how to split the data into multiple columns. It is also part of data cleaning. Sometimes your data is in one single column. You need to divide it into multiple adjacent columns.

The below data is in one column, and you need to convert it into 4 columns based on the heading.

Text to Columns in Excel example 2

From the above data, we can understand that there are four pieces of information in a single cell: “Hex No., Description,” “Hex No., Description.” Therefore, we will apply the “fixed-width” text to the columns method.

  • Step 1: Select the data range.
Text to Columns in Excel example 2-1
  • Step 2: Go to the “Data” tab and select the “Text to Column” Excel option (ALT + A + E). It would open up the “Convert Text to Columns Wizard” window.
Text to Columns in Excel example 2-2
  • Step 3: Select the “Fixed width” option and click on “Next.”
Text to Columns in Excel example 2-2
  • Step 4: The fixed-width divider vertical line marks (called break line) in the “Data preview” window. You may need to adjust it as per your data structure.
Text to Columns in Excel example 2-3
  • Step 5: Click on the “Next” option and select the destination cell as B1 in the next option. It would insert the data in the new column to have our original data.
Text to Columns in Excel example 2-5
  • Step 6: Now, click on the “Finish” button. It would instantly split data into four columns: “Hex,” “Description,” “Hex,” and “Description,” starting from column B to column E.
Text to Columns in Excel example 2-6

Examples 3: Convert Date to Text Using Text to Column Option

If you do not like formulas to convert the date to text format, you can use TEXT TO COLUMN Excel OPTION. For example, assume you have data from cells A2 to A8.

Text to Columns in Excel example 3

Now, you need to convert it into text format.

  • Step 1: Select the entire column you want to convert.
Text to Columns in Excel example 3-1
  • Step 2: Go to the Data tab and Text to Columns.
Text to Columns in Excel example 3-2
  • Step 3: Make sure Delimited is selected and click on the “Next” button.
  • Step 4: The below pop-up will open, uncheck all the boxes, and click the “Next” button.
Text to Columns in Excel example 3-3
  • Step 5: Select the TEXT option from the next dialog box. Mention the destination cell as B2 and click “Finish.”
Text to Columns in Excel example 3-4
  • Step 6: Now, it instantly converts it into text format.
Text to Columns in Excel example 3-5

Examples 4: Extract the First 9 Characters from the list

For example, in the data set shown below, the first 9 characters are unique to a product lineProduct LineProduct Line refers to the collection of related products that are marketed under a single brand, which may be the flagship brand for the concerned company. Typically, companies extend their product offerings by adding new variants to the existing products with the expectation that the existing consumers will buy products from the brands that they are already purchasing.read more.

Text to Columns in Excel example 4
  • Step 1: Select the data range.
Text to Columns in Excel example 4-1
  • Step 2: Press “ALT + A + E,” select the “Fixed width,” and click on “Next.”
Text to Columns in Excel example 4-2
  • Step 3: Now, put a delimiter exactly after the 9th character, as shown in the image below.
Text to Columns in Excel example 4-3
  • Step 4: Click “Next” and select the destination cell as B2.
Text to Columns in Excel example 4-4
  • Step 5: Click on “Finish.” It will extract the first 9 characters from the list in column B and the remaining characters in column C.
Text to Columns in Excel example 4-5
Text to Columns in Excel example 4-6
Text to Columns in Excel example 4-7

Recommended Articles

This article has been a guide to Text to Columns in Excel. Here, we discuss where to convert text to columns in Excel, along with the example and downloadable Excel templates. You may also look at these useful functions in Excel: –