Text to Columns–The short easy way

My mantra when teaching is ‘if you are doing it the long hard way, you are doing it the long hard way.’ Here’s a way to make it easier to split up data into different fields. You can use the LEFT or RIGHT functions, but there’s an even easier way.

Go to the DATA tab, then choose TEXT to COLUMNS. Typically, your data is going to be separated by some type of a character (even a space is considered a character). Choose the DELIMITED option, and then designate what separates your data.  Then choose the format you want to convert the data into. Notice that there is an option for different date formats. Try not to leave it at the default of GENERAL, because it is always preferable to have a specific format in Excel.

You can also specify where you want this data to appear (you are not deleting the existing data–you are creating a new version, separated out), including a different worksheet or workbook.

Going forward, do not forget TEXT to COLUMNS. Like many other goodies, it is buried on the DATA tab on the ribbon, and easy to overlook. Meanwhile, keep soaring….