How to Do Text to Columns in Excel: A Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners

how to do text to columns in excel

If you’ve ever faced a massive spreadsheet and needed to split a single column of data into multiple columns, the "Text to Columns" feature in Excel is your best friend. It’s a quick and straightforward tool that can save you tons of time. Essentially, you select the column you want to split, choose the delimiter, and voila! Your data is neatly divided into separate columns.

Step-by-Step Tutorial: How to do Text to Columns in Excel

In this section, we’ll walk you through the steps to use the "Text to Columns" feature in Excel. Follow these steps to break down your data efficiently.

Step 1: Open Your Excel Worksheet

Open the Excel worksheet that contains the data you want to split.

Make sure your data is organized in a single column before starting. This will make the process smoother.

Step 2: Select the Column

Select the column that you want to split by clicking on its header.

This will highlight the entire column, indicating that it’s the target for your operation.

Step 3: Navigate to the Data Tab

Go to the "Data" tab on the Excel ribbon at the top of the screen.

This tab contains various data tools, including the "Text to Columns" feature.

Step 4: Click on Text to Columns

Click on the "Text to Columns" button in the Data Tools group.

This will open the "Convert Text to Columns Wizard," which will guide you through the process.

Step 5: Choose Your File Type

Select either "Delimited" or "Fixed Width" based on your data.

  • Delimited: Choose this if your data is separated by characters like commas or tabs.
  • Fixed Width: Choose this if your data has fixed-width fields.

Step 6: Select Delimiters or Set Field Widths

If you chose "Delimited," select the delimiter (commas, tabs, etc.). If you chose "Fixed Width," set the widths.

This tells Excel how to split your data into multiple columns.

Step 7: Finish and Review

Click "Finish" to split the data and review the new columns.

Make sure everything looks correct and adjust as needed.

After completing these steps, your data will be organized into separate columns, making it much easier to analyze and manipulate.

Tips for How to do Text to Columns in Excel

  1. Backup Your Data: Always make a copy of your data before using the "Text to Columns" feature to avoid any irreversible changes.
  2. Check for Delimiters: Ensure that the chosen delimiter doesn’t appear in your actual data. Otherwise, it might split where you don’t want it to.
  3. Clean Up Data First: If your data has extra spaces or inconsistent delimiters, clean it up before starting.
  4. Use Preview: The wizard provides a preview. Use this to check how your data will be split.
  5. Excel Versions: The steps might vary slightly between different versions of Excel, so adjust accordingly.

Frequently Asked Questions: How to do Text to Columns in Excel

What if my data doesn’t split correctly?

Check your chosen delimiter and ensure it matches the character separating your data. If you’re using "Fixed Width," make sure the field widths are set correctly.

Can I undo the Text to Columns action?

Yes, you can use the Undo feature (Ctrl + Z) immediately after completing the action to revert the changes.

Does this work with numbers and dates?

Yes, the "Text to Columns" feature works with any type of data, including numbers and dates.

What if my data has multiple delimiters?

You can select multiple delimiters in the wizard. For example, you can choose both commas and spaces as delimiters.

Is there a limit to how many columns I can create?

The maximum number of columns you can have in Excel is 16,384, which is more than enough for most tasks.


  1. Open Excel worksheet.
  2. Select the column.
  3. Go to the Data tab.
  4. Click on Text to Columns.
  5. Choose your file type.
  6. Select delimiters or set field widths.
  7. Finish and review.


Mastering the "Text to Columns" feature in Excel can greatly enhance your data management skills. It’s a versatile tool that allows you to easily manipulate and organize your data, saving you both time and effort. With these simple steps, you’re well on your way to becoming an Excel pro.

For further reading, consider exploring other data management features in Excel. Features like filtering, sorting, and conditional formatting offer additional power and flexibility when working with large datasets.

If you found this guide helpful, try experimenting with different types of data and delimiters to see just how versatile the "Text to Columns" feature can be. Happy Excel-ing!

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