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Excel’s Text to Columns Wizard won’t stop any dementors, but Excel Video 229 can make importing demented data much easier. I don’t see CSV or TXT files as much as I used to, but if you have to import data from an older system, you’ll run across CSV and TXT files. CSV stands for comma separated values. In a CSV file, each column of data is separated by a comma, but the data is all in the first column. The Text to Columns Wizard helps you import the file and separate the data into columns. Excel Video 229 has three examples with the Text to Columns Wizard.
The first screen of the wizard asks whether your data is delimited (has something between each column of data) or fixed width (every column is x characters wide). Our data has commas between each column of data, so answer delimited. The second screen asks what character separates our data. Our data is comma delimited, so check comma. The third screen of the wizard allows you to determine what type of data is in each column. In the third example, we’ll deal with different date formats and zip codes that look like numbers but should be stored as text. Watch for how to use the third screen of the wizard to determine the data type of each column.
If you have 3 or 4 rows and 3 or 4 columns, it’s not the end of the world to manually fix your data. If you have 30,000 or 300,000 rows of data, Text to Columns is a lifesaver.