Breaking Up Isn’t So Hard to Do

If you tried the tip from the other day, where you imported data from the Web into Excel 2007, you may have found that not all data appearing to be a table is actually a table. Am I right?

I found that many things I imported were actually just text, so it came into Excel in a single column.

So, now what?

I mean, let’s face it. The data is no good being treated as text all in column A. How can you do any work with it like that?

I guess the next question is: Can you separate it efficiently?

Of course you can! Why else would I mention it?

To separate your imported data, first select the column that contains your data.

Now, under the Data tab on the ribbon, you’re looking for the Text to Columns button.

A three step wizard for the process will then begin.

  • In the first step, tell Excel how the data is currently separated. (I found that my data elements were set apart by a fixed width).

  • Step 2 allows you to see and edit where Excel will split things up. You can create new column breaks, remove the ones it’s putting in that you don’t agree with or you can choose to move them from their current positions.

  • Finally, step 3 of the wizard allows you to select each column and tell Excel how to format the data in that column.

Clicking on Finish will set Excel into motion, returning you to the worksheet where you’ll happily find your data broken into separate columns and ready for work!

~ April