Split names by using the Convert Text to Columns Wizard

Use the Convert Text to Columns Wizard to separate simple cell content, such as first names and last names, into different columns.

Full name

First name  

Last name  

Syed Abbas

Syed

Abbas

Molly Dempsey

Molly

Dempsey

Lola Jacobsen

Lola

Jacobsen

Diane Margheim

Diane

Margheim

Depending on the way your data is arranged, you can split the cell content based on a delimiter, such as a space or a character (such as a comma, a period, or a semicolon), or you can split it based on a specific column break location within your data.

What do you want to do?

Split content based on a delimiter

Split cell content based on a column break

Split content based on a delimiter

Use this method if your names have a delimited format, such as "First_name Last_name" (where the space between First_name and Last_name is the delimiter) or "Last_name, First_name" (where the comma is the delimiter).

Split space-delimited content

To complete these steps, copy the following sample data to a blank worksheet.

How to copy an example

  1. Select the example in this article.

      Do not select the row or column headers.

    selecting an example from help in Excel 2013 for Windows
    Selecting an example from Help
  2. Press CTRL+C.

  3. In Excel, create a blank workbook or worksheet.

  4. In the worksheet, select cell A1, and press CTRL+V.

      For the example to work properly, you must paste it into cell A1 of the worksheet.

  5. To switch between viewing the results and viewing the formulas that return the results, press CTRL+` (grave accent), or on the Formulas tab, in the Formula Auditing group, click the Show Formulas button.

After you copy the example to a blank worksheet, you can adapt it to suit your needs.

1

2

3

4

A

Syed Abbas

Molly Dempsey

Lola Jacobsen

Diane Margheim

  1. Select the range of data that you want to convert.

  2. On the Data tab, in the Data Tools group, click Text to Columns.

    Data Tools group on the Data tab

  3. In Step 1 of the Convert Text to Columns Wizard, click Delimited, and then click Next.

  4. In Step 2, select the Space check box, and then clear the other check boxes under Delimiters.

    The Data preview box shows the first and last names in two separate columns.

    Text to Columns Wizard - Step 2 of 3

  5. Click Next.

  6. In Step 3, click a column in the Data preview box and then, under Column data format, click Text.

    Repeat this step for each column in the Data preview box.

  7. If you want to insert the separated content into the columns next to the full name, click the icon to the right of the Destination box, and then select the cell next to the first name in the list (B2, in this example).

    Destination of splitted contents

    Important    If you do not specify a new destination for the new columns, the split data will replace the original data.

  8. Click the icon to the right of the Convert Text to Columns Wizard.

    Text to Columns Wizard Step 3 of 3

  9. Click Finish.

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Split character-delimited content

To complete these steps, copy the following sample data to a blank worksheet.

How to copy an example

  1. Select the example in this article.

      Do not select the row or column headers.

    selecting an example from help in Excel 2013 for Windows
    Selecting an example from Help
  2. Press CTRL+C.

  3. In Excel, create a blank workbook or worksheet.

  4. In the worksheet, select cell A1, and press CTRL+V.

      For the example to work properly, you must paste it into cell A1 of the worksheet.

  5. To switch between viewing the results and viewing the formulas that return the results, press CTRL+` (grave accent), or on the Formulas tab, in the Formula Auditing group, click the Show Formulas button.

After you copy the example to a blank worksheet, you can adapt it to suit your needs.

1

2

3

4

A

Abercrombie,Kim

Cavaglieri,Giorgio

Ito,Shu

Philips,Carol

  1. Select the range of data that you want to convert.

  2. On the Data tab, in the Data Tools group, click Text to Columns.

    Data Tools group on the Data tab

  3. In Step 1 of the Convert Text to Columns Wizard, click Delimited, and then click Next.

  4. In Step 2, under Delimiters, select the Comma check box.

    The Data preview box displays the first names and last names in two separate lists.

    Text to Columns Wizard - Step 2 of 3

  5. Click Next.

  6. In Step 3, click a column in the Data preview box and then, under Column data format, click Text.

    Repeat this step for each column in the Data preview box.

  7. If you want to show the separated content in the columns next to the full name, click the icon to the right of the Destination box, and then select the cell next to the first name in the list (B2, in this example).

    Destination of splitted contents

    Important    If you do not specify a new destination for the new columns, the divided data will replace the combined data.

  8. Click the icon to the right of the Convert Text to Columns Wizard.

    Text to Columns Wizard Step 3 of 3

  9. Click Finish.

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Split cell content based on a column break

You can also customize how you want your data to be separated by specifying a fixed column break location. As an example, the data you are importing may have "padding" between columns.

For example, a column containing first names may allow up to 10 characters, and a column containing last names may allow up to 15 characters. Any unused characters for each column may be filled with spaces. So, in the text file that you are importing, the name Lola Jacobsen may appear as Lola (followed by 6 spaces) Jacobsen (followed by 7 spaces).

  1. Select the cell or range of cells that contains the data that you want to split.

  2. On the Data tab, in the Data Tools group, click Text to Columns.

    Data Tools group on the Data tab

  3. In Step 1 of the Convert Text to Columns Wizard, click Fixed Width, and then click Next.

  4. In the Data preview box, drag a line to indicate where you want the content to be divided.

    Text to Columns Wizard - Step 2 of 3

    Tip    To delete a line, double-click it.

  5. Click Next.

  6. In Step 3, select a column in the Data preview box and then, under Column data format, click a format option.

    Repeat this step for each column in the Data preview box.

  7. If you want to show the split content in the columns next to the full name, click the icon to the right of the Destination box, and then click the cell next to the first name in the list.

    Choose destination of extracted cell content

    Important    If you do not specify a new destination for the new columns, the divided data will replace the original data.

  8. Click the icon to the right of the Convert Text to Columns Wizard.

    Convert Text to Columns Wizard Step 3 of 3

  9. Click Finish.

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Applies To: Excel 2010



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