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 your data, you can split the cell content based on a delimiter, such as a space or a comma, or based on a specific column break location within your data.

What do you want to do?


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.

ShowHow to copy an example

  1. Create a blank workbook or worksheet.
  2. Select the example in the Help topic.

 Note   Do not select the row or column headers.

Selecting an example from Help

  1. Press CTRL+C.
  2. On the worksheet, select cell A1, and then press CTRL+V.
  3. 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.
 
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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.
  1. In Step 1 of the Convert Text to Columns Wizard, click Delimited, and then click Next.
  2. 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

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

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

  1. 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.

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

Text to Columns Wizard Step 3 of 3

  1. Click Finish.

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Split comma-delimited content

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

ShowHow to copy an example

  1. Create a blank workbook or worksheet.
  2. Select the example in the Help topic.

 Note   Do not select the row or column headers.

Selecting an example from Help

  1. Press CTRL+C.
  2. On the worksheet, select cell A1, and then press CTRL+V.
  3. To switch between viewing the results and viewing the formulas that return the results, press CTRL+` (grave accent), or on the Formula tab, in the Formula Auditing group, click the Show Formulas button.
 
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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.
  1. In Step 1 of the Convert Text to Columns Wizard, click Delimited, and then click Next.
  2. In Step 2, select the Comma check box, and then clear the other check boxes under Delimiters.

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

Text to Columns Wizard - Step 2 of 3

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

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

  1. 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.

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

Convert Text to Columns Wizard Step 3 of 3

  1. 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.

  1. Select the cell or range of cells.
  2. On the Data tab, in the Data Tools group, click Text to Columns.
  1. In Step 1 of the Convert Text to Columns Wizard, click Fixed Width, and then click Next.
  2. 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.

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

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

  1. 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.

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

Convert Text to Columns Wizard Step 3 of 3

  1. Click Finish.

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Applies to:
Excel 2007