How to Convert a Word Document to Excel and Maintain Formatting

Converting a Word document to Excel while keeping the formatting intact might sound like a daunting task, but it’s actually pretty straightforward. The trick is to use the right tools and follow the right steps to ensure that your data transfers over correctly. After reading this brief explanation, you’ll know exactly what to do to get your Word document into Excel without losing any of that precious formatting.

Step by Step Tutorial on How to Convert a Word Document to Excel and Keep Formatting

Before we dive into the nitty-gritty, let’s establish what these steps will help you achieve. Following them will ensure that your Word document, with all its tables, fonts, and layout, will look just as good in Excel. Now, let’s get to it!

Step 1: Open your Word document

First things first, open up the Word document that you want to convert.

Opening your document is the most basic step, but it’s crucial to start here. Make sure that the document is exactly how you want it to appear in Excel. This means double-checking that all the tables are correctly formatted and that there’s no extra text floating around that you don’t want to transfer over.

Step 2: Save the Word document as a Plain Text (.txt) file

Go to ‘File’, click on ‘Save As’, and choose ‘Plain Text (.txt)’ from the dropdown menu.

When you save your document as a Plain Text file, you’re stripping it of all its Word-specific formatting but keeping the essential structure intact. This is a vital step because Excel can read Plain Text files, but it struggles with the complex formatting of Word documents.

Step 3: Open Excel and go to the ‘Data’ tab

Launch Excel and navigate to the ‘Data’ tab on the ribbon at the top.

The ‘Data’ tab is where the magic happens in Excel. It’s where you can import data from external sources, including the Plain Text file you just created from your Word document.

Step 4: Import the Plain Text file into Excel

In the ‘Data’ tab, click on ‘Get External Data’, then choose ‘From Text’.

Importing your Plain Text file into Excel is where the conversion really starts to take shape. By selecting ‘From Text’, you’re telling Excel to bring in the data from the file you saved earlier.

Step 5: Follow the Text Import Wizard prompts

The Text Import Wizard will open. Follow the prompts to import your data, making sure to select the correct delimiter and text qualifier.

The Text Import Wizard is a helpful tool that guides you through the process of importing your data. It’ll ask you how your data is separated (with tabs, commas, etc.), which is important for keeping your formatting correct.

Step 6: Adjust the formatting in Excel as needed

Once your data is in Excel, you might need to make a few tweaks to get it looking just right.

Sometimes, even with the best preparation, the formatting might be a little off once it’s in Excel. This is your chance to adjust column widths, font sizes, and anything else to make sure your data is presented just as you want it.

After you’ve completed these steps, your Word document will be successfully converted into an Excel spreadsheet with the formatting kept intact. You’ll be able to manipulate the data just as you would with any other Excel file.

Tips for How to Convert a Word Document to Excel and Keep Formatting

  • Save a copy of your original Word document before converting it, just in case something goes wrong.
  • Be mindful of the data in your Word document. Complex graphics and images won’t transfer over.
  • Double-check the delimiter settings in the Text Import Wizard to ensure correct data placement.
  • If your Word document has multiple tables, you may need to convert each one separately.
  • Take advantage of Excel’s formatting tools after the import to fine-tune your spreadsheet.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I convert a Word document with images to Excel?

Images don’t typically transfer over when converting a Word document to Excel. It’s best to handle images separately.

What if my Word document contains multiple tables?

You might need to convert each table separately. Just repeat the steps for each table, saving each as a separate Plain Text file before importing into Excel.

Can I convert a Word document to Excel on a Mac?

Yes, the steps are similar on a Mac, but the exact commands might differ slightly due to differences in the operating systems.

Will hyperlinks transfer from Word to Excel?

Hyperlinks do not usually transfer. You may need to re-create them in Excel.

What if my formatting doesn’t look right after import?

You may need to adjust the formatting manually in Excel. Use the tools available in Excel to tweak the layout until it meets your needs.


  1. Open your Word document
  2. Save the Word document as a Plain Text file
  3. Open Excel and go to the ‘Data’ tab
  4. Import the Plain Text file into Excel
  5. Follow the Text Import Wizard prompts
  6. Adjust the formatting in Excel as needed


Converting a Word document to Excel while keeping the formatting might seem like a challenge, but with the right approach, it can be a breeze. Remember to take it step by step and to double-check your work as you go along. This isn’t just about transferring data; it’s about maintaining the integrity and the look of your information. Whether you’re a student working on a project, a professional crunching numbers, or just someone trying to get organized, knowing how to convert a Word document to Excel and keep formatting is a valuable skill that will save you time and keep your data looking sharp. So, give it a try, and see just how simple and effective this process can be!

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