How to Split Full Names Into Two Cells in Excel 2013: A Step-by-Step Guide

Splitting full names into two cells in Excel 2013 is a simple process that can be accomplished using the Text to Columns feature. By selecting the cells containing the full names and accessing the Data tab, you can choose to split the text based on a specific delimiter, such as a space, to separate first and last names into individual cells.

After completing this action, you will have two separate columns: one for first names and one for last names. This can be particularly useful for organizing data, creating mail merges, or performing specific data analysis tasks.


Excel 2013 is a powerful tool that can help you organize and analyze data in countless ways. One common task that many users come across is the need to split full names into two separate cells – one for the first name and one for the last name. This function can be incredibly helpful for a variety of reasons, whether you’re creating mailing lists, sorting data, or performing any number of administrative tasks.

Imagine you have a long list of names in a single column, and you need to separate them to make your data more manageable. Or perhaps you need to personalize a form letter with individual first and last names. Whatever the reason, knowing how to split names in Excel can save you tons of time and headaches. This guide is relevant to anyone who uses Excel for work or personal reasons, and it is especially useful for those in administrative or data management roles.

Step by Step Tutorial – How to Split Full Names Into Two Cells in Excel 2013

The following steps will guide you through the process of splitting full names into two cells in Excel 2013 using the Text to Columns wizard.

Step 1: Select the Column Containing the Full Names

Select the column that contains the full names you wish to split.

In this step, make sure you select the entire column by clicking on the column header. This ensures that all names within the column will be split.

Step 2: Go to the Data Tab

Click on the ‘Data’ tab in the ribbon at the top of the Excel window.

The Data tab contains various tools for managing and analyzing your data, including the Text to Columns feature, which you will use in this process.

Step 3: Click on ‘Text to Columns’

In the Data Tools group, click on ‘Text to Columns’.

This will open the Text to Columns wizard, which will guide you through the process of splitting your data.

Step 4: Choose ‘Delimited’ and Click ‘Next’

In the wizard, choose the ‘Delimited’ option, which allows you to split the text based on characters such as spaces, commas, or tabs, and then click ‘Next’.

Since full names are typically separated by a space, the Delimited option is the most appropriate for this task.

Step 5: Choose the Delimiter

In the Delimiters section, uncheck all the options except for ‘Space’, and then click ‘Next’.

Make sure only the Space option is selected as this tells Excel to split the names at each space found in the text.

Step 6: Choose the Destination

Choose where you want the split data to be placed by clicking on the ‘Destination’ box and selecting the cell where the first name should begin. Then click ‘Finish’.

If you do not choose a destination, Excel will automatically split the names and overwrite the original data, so be sure to specify if you want to keep the full names intact.


Benefit Explanation
Improved Data Organization Splitting full names into two cells helps in organizing your data neatly. This can be particularly useful when sorting or filtering data.
Efficiency in Data Management By having first and last names in separate cells, you can easily perform tasks such as mail merges or personalized communications, saving you time and effort.
Enhanced Data Analysis Separating names allows for more detailed analysis, such as counting the frequency of certain names or comparing data based on first or last names.


Drawback Explanation
Possibility of Errors If a name contains more than one space, such as a middle name or a double-barreled surname, the split may not be accurate and additional adjustment may be needed.
Overwriting Original Data If you forget to specify a destination, you risk overwriting the original data. Always ensure you have a backup or specify a destination before splitting.
Limited to Simple Splits The Text to Columns feature is limited to simple splits based on delimiters. Complex name formats may require additional formulas or manual editing.

Additional Information

When using Excel 2013 to split full names into two cells, there are a few additional tips and insights to keep in mind. Firstly, always ensure that you have a backup of your original data before performing any split. This can save you from potential data loss if the split doesn’t go as planned. Secondly, if you encounter names with middle names or multiple surnames, you may need to use additional Excel functions to achieve the desired result. Functions such as LEFT, RIGHT, MID, and FIND can be incredibly helpful in managing more complex name formats. Thirdly, remember that the delimiter you choose is critical in determining how Excel will split the data. Always review your data to choose the most appropriate delimiter for the task at hand.

Finally, if you’re working with a large dataset, consider using Excel’s ‘Flash Fill’ feature after splitting a few names manually. Excel can recognize patterns and automatically fill in the rest of the data accordingly, which can be a massive time-saver. Remember, Excel is a powerful tool, and there are often multiple ways to achieve the same outcome. Be sure to explore and experiment to find the best solution for your specific needs.


  1. Select the column containing the full names.
  2. Go to the Data tab.
  3. Click on ‘Text to Columns’.
  4. Choose ‘Delimited’ and click ‘Next’.
  5. Select ‘Space’ as the delimiter and click ‘Next’.
  6. Choose the destination for the split data and click ‘Finish’.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if the names also include middle names?

If the full names include middle names, you may need to repeat the Text to Columns process or use additional Excel functions to separate the middle names into their own cells.

Can I split names that are separated by commas instead of spaces?

Yes, you can. In Step 5 of the tutorial, you would simply select the ‘Comma’ delimiter instead of ‘Space’.

Will this process work for names that have non-standard characters or accents?

Excel’s Text to Columns feature works based on delimiters, so as long as the names are consistently formatted, it should work. However, you may need to make manual adjustments for any irregularities.

Can I undo the split if I make a mistake?

Yes, you can undo the split by pressing CTRL + Z immediately after the process, or by restoring your backup data if you made one.

Is it possible to automate this process for future use?

You can record a macro while performing the split and then use that macro to automate the process for future data sets with similar formatting.


Splitting full names into two cells in Excel 2013 can significantly improve your data management and analysis capabilities. It’s a simple yet powerful technique that can save you time and ensure your data is organized and ready for whatever task you have at hand. With the step-by-step tutorial provided, you’re now equipped to tackle this task with confidence. Remember, Excel is a versatile tool with many features, so continue exploring and learning to make the most of what it has to offer. Whether you’re a seasoned Excel pro or just getting started, mastering functions like splitting names is a valuable skill that can enhance your data handling prowess.

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