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Excel Guide

Separating Data in Excel

If you're managing data within Excel, there might be occasions where segregating that data into distinct cells or columns becomes necessary. Whether it's breaking down names into first and last names or dividing full addresses into street, city, and state components, Excel offers straightforward methods to accomplish this.

Method 1: Utilizing the Text to Columns Tool

A convenient approach to splitting data in Excel involves using the Text to Columns feature found within the Data tab on the ribbon. This feature is explicitly designed for this purpose. After selecting the cells, click on the Text to Columns button to initiate the process. The ensuing Convert Text to Columns Wizard guides you through the data separation. Default settings usually suffice, but you can modify parameters like the delimiter and handling consecutive delimiters.

Once settings are adjusted, clicking Finish executes the splitting of your data into the specified cells or columns.

Method 2: Employing the Split Function

For more control or to separate data already in distinct cells, Excel's built-in SPLIT function is advantageous. This function enables precise specification of where and how data should be divided using a designated delimiter.

By entering =SPLIT( in a cell, selecting the data cell, and then defining the delimiter enclosed in quotation marks, data can be split as desired.

Method 3: Leveraging the Flash Fill Feature

Excel versions from 2013 onward include the Flash Fill feature, automatically dissecting data entered into adjacent cells based on patterns. If the system doesn’t recognize the pattern initially, manual entry followed by applying Flash Fill gives the option to accept or cancel the suggested splits.

Method 4: Using Formulas

When other methods don't cover the required splitting pattern, employing formulas becomes crucial. Formulas like =LEFT and =RIGHT can extract specific parts of a cell's content based on defined criteria.

Method 5: Application of VBA

For regular or complex data splitting beyond standard methods, creating a VBA macro proves effective. With programming knowledge, using VBA enables automation of the process. The Range.TextToColumns method within a macro can replicate the Text to Columns feature.


Excel provides several approaches to split data efficiently. The method of choice depends on specific requirements. Creating a macro becomes advantageous for recurring data splitting tasks.