How to Open a TXT File in Excel: Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners

Opening a TXT file in Excel is a simple process that allows you to convert plain text data into a structured spreadsheet format. With just a few steps, you can easily import your TXT file into Excel and start organizing and analyzing your data more effectively.

Step-by-Step Tutorial: How to Open a TXT File in Excel

By following these steps, you’ll be able to open your TXT file in Excel and have it displayed in a neat, columnar format, making it easier to work with.

Step 1: Open Excel

Launch Microsoft Excel on your computer.

Opening Excel is your first step. You can usually find it in your Start menu or applications folder. Once Excel is open, you’re ready to start the import process.

Step 2: Select “Open” from the File Menu

Click on "File" in the top left corner, then choose “Open.”

This will bring up a file navigator window where you can locate your TXT file. Make sure you select the correct file type to see TXT files in the list.

Step 3: Locate Your TXT File

Navigate to the folder where your TXT file is saved and select it.

Finding your file may involve browsing through your folders. Once you find the file, click on it to highlight it.

Step 4: Choose the “Text Import Wizard” Option

When prompted, select the “Text Import Wizard” option to guide you through the import process.

The Text Import Wizard will help you specify how Excel should interpret the data in your TXT file. This is crucial for ensuring the data is displayed correctly.

Step 5: Select the Type of Data

Choose whether your data is Delimited or Fixed Width and click “Next.”

Delimited data is separated by characters like commas or tabs, while Fixed Width means each field has a set number of characters. Pick the one that matches your data.

Step 6: Specify Delimiters or Field Widths

If you chose Delimited, specify the character that separates your data. If Fixed Width, set the field widths.

This step ensures Excel correctly separates your data into columns. For Delimited files, you might choose a comma or tab. For Fixed Width files, you’ll set where each column should start and end.

Step 7: Finish the Import

Click “Finish” to complete the import process and view your data in Excel.

After confirming your settings, Excel will import the TXT file and display it as a spreadsheet. You can now see your data neatly organized in columns.

After completing these steps, your TXT file will be imported into Excel, and you’ll be able to see and work with your data in a structured format. You can now make edits, perform calculations, or create charts based on your imported data.

Tips for Opening a TXT File in Excel

  • Check Delimiters: Make sure you know what character separates your data fields, such as commas, tabs, or semicolons.
  • Preview Data: Use the preview window in the Text Import Wizard to make sure your data is being split into columns correctly.
  • Use Proper Formatting: Ensure that dates and numbers are formatted correctly after import.
  • Save as Excel File: Save your imported data as an Excel file (.xlsx) to retain formatting and any changes you make.
  • Cleaning Data: Consider cleaning your data before importing to remove any unnecessary characters or spaces.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why won’t Excel open my TXT file?

Make sure the file is not corrupted and that you’ve selected the correct file type when opening it.

What if my data doesn’t appear correctly in Excel?

Check your delimiter settings in the Text Import Wizard to ensure data is separated into columns correctly.

Can I open large TXT files in Excel?

Yes, but be aware that very large files may slow down Excel. Consider splitting the file if it’s too large.

What types of delimiters does Excel recognize?

Excel recognizes various delimiters like commas, tabs, semicolons, and spaces.

How do I save my imported TXT file as an Excel file?

After importing, click “File,” then “Save As,” and choose Excel Workbook (.xlsx) as the file type.


  1. Open Excel
  2. Select “Open” from the File Menu
  3. Locate Your TXT File
  4. Choose the “Text Import Wizard” Option
  5. Select the Type of Data
  6. Specify Delimiters or Field Widths
  7. Finish the Import


Opening a TXT file in Excel is a straightforward task that can significantly enhance how you manage and analyze your data. By following the outlined steps, you can transform plain text into a structured spreadsheet, making it easier to work with and understand. Remember to use the Text Import Wizard to ensure your data is correctly formatted. If you run into any issues, revisit the tips and FAQ sections for additional guidance. Now that you know how to open a TXT file in Excel, you can handle your data more efficiently, paving the way for better insights and decision-making.

For further reading, consider exploring Excel’s advanced data manipulation features, such as pivot tables and conditional formatting, to get even more out of your data. Happy data crunching!

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