Tech Tips Home
The Best Tech Tips And Daily Deals
Newsletter On The Internet!

WorldStart Tech Tip And Store Search
Email: Password: Login Remember Me

Like what you see here? Subscribe to the Tech Tips newsletter!   Email: Subscribe

MS Excel Text Into Columns

Monday, November 22nd, 2004 by | Filed Under: MS Excel

MS Excel Text Into Columns

Have you ever found yourself wondering what in the world possessed the person who created your MS Excel file to put both first and last name in the same cell?

Now how are you supposed to sort that list alphabetically by last name when first name is listed first?


The answer is that you can’t—you have to separate the first and last names—somehow…

But how?

You could spend your time retyping the last name into the next column. It works but it’s not a great plan since it could take “forever” if your list is really long.

Or… maybe you have other text / data that really should be separated into different cells for easy sorting and editing.

Would you like a fast way to separate the data? (This works best with data that’s pretty consistent and not too complicated.)

Most of us would say “yes”. (Even if you don’t have an immediate use for this one, it’s one of those handy little pieces of information that may just get you out of a jam one day. :-)

So let’s get to that faster way…

The first thing you’ll need to do is to highlight the data that needs to be separated.

Now go to the Data menu, Text into Columns choice.

A 3-step wizard will start to guide you through the process.

On step 1 check at the top that the data will be delimited.


Then click Next.

In step 2 you need to check the Space option in the Delimiters section. (Make sure all other choices are unchecked.) Basically what you’re doing here is telling Excel what character separates your pieces of data—so that when it find a space it knows to stick the next piece of text in a new column.


Did you notice the preview of your data in the bottom window? See how the names are now divided into different columns?

Click Next.

Step 3 will allow you to do some formatting and placement of your data—but for now, as beginners, just click the Finish button.


Just like magic your first and last names are in two separate columns, ready to sort – no retyping necessary.

(Ok—maybe not magic but, if your list was long, you’ll feel like it was when you realize how much time you just saved.)

~ April

Leave a Reply

Like these tips? Get them for FREE in your email!

WorldStart's Tech Tips Newsletter

  • Tech Tips Daily - Become a tech pro! Get the very best tech and computer help sent directly to your email every weekday!

  • Tech Tips Weekly - If you don't want our Tech Tips newsletter every day, then sign up for this weekly newsletter to get the best information of the week. Sent on Fridays.

Other Newsletters

  • WorldStart's Daily Deals - Every week, we send out great deals in our Daily Deals newsletter. Many of these deals are exclusively for our Daily Deals newsletter subscribers and can't be found with our regular specials.

  • Just For Grins - Each issue includes a couple clean jokes, some funny quotes, and a hilarious reader's story. Newsletter is sent five days a week.

Enter Email Address:


Your e-mail address is safe with us!
We only use it to send you the newsletters you request. It is NEVER disclosed to a third party for any reason, ever! Plus, if you decided you don't like our newsletters (don't worry, you'll love them), unsubscribing is fast and easy.

Free Newsletter Signup

Tech Tips Daily

Become a tech pro! Get the very best tech and computer help sent directly to your email every weekday!

Tech Tips Weekly

The week's best in tech and computer help. Get your issue sent to your email every Friday!

WorldStart's Daily Deals

The very best deals on the Internet! Get a new set of incredible sales every day of the week!

Just For Grins

Clean jokes, funny quotes, and hilarious comics. Sent 5 times a week straight to your email.


Love Worldstart? Refer A Friend!

WorldStart's Premium Membership

Tip Archive