Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Office 365. If you are using an earlier version (Excel 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Excel, click here: Adding a Missing Closing Bracket.

Adding a Missing Closing Bracket

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated September 7, 2019)

3

Terry has a huge list of names in an Excel worksheet. Some are just the names, but some have words in brackets after them. Unfortunately, some of the words in brackets don't have the closing bracket and Terry has to manually add the closing bracket. He wonders if there is a way that he can add a bracket using a wild card search and replace.

The short answer is that you can't do this using a search and replace, either wild card or regular. You can, however, use a formula to add any missing brackets. The following is just one example of the type of formula you can use:

=IF(AND(NOT(ISERROR(SEARCH("[",A1))),NOT(RIGHT(A1,1)="]")),A1&"]",A1)

The trick is to check to see if the cell (A1 in this case) has a left bracket in it and, if it does, check for the right bracket. If the right bracket isn't found, then you append one to the contents of the cell. Here's another variation on the same formulaic theme:

=IF(ISERROR(FIND("[",A1)),A1,IF(ISERROR(FIND("]",A1)),A1&"]",A1))

If you have to check large numbers of cells for missing brackets on a regular basis, you may want to create a macro that will examine a range of cells and add a right bracket if one is needed. Here's an example of how such a macro could be formulated:

Sub Close_Bracket()
    Dim c As Range
    Const csLBrk As String = "["
    Const csRBrk As String = "]"

    On Error Resume Next
    For Each c In Selection.Cells
        If InStr(1, c.Value, csLBrk) > 0 And _
          InStr(1, c.Value, csRBrk) = 0 Then
            c.Value = c.Value & csRBrk
        End If
    Next c
End Sub

To use the macro, simply select the range of cells you want to affect, and then run it. The cells are examined in-place and modified, if needed.

Note:

If you would like to know how to use the macros described on this page (or on any other page on the ExcelTips sites), I've prepared a special page that includes helpful information. Click here to open that special page in a new browser tab.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (126) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Office 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Adding a Missing Closing Bracket.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Putting a Bullet in the Middle of a Sentence

Need a special character (such as a bullet) in the middle of your text? Here are two quick ways to enter the character ...

Discover More

Selecting Noncontiguous Ranges with the Keyboard

It's easy to select non-contiguous ranges using the mouse, but may seem more daunting if you are simply using the ...

Discover More

Excluding Some Data from a Chart

Excel is a whiz at creating charts from your worksheet data. When the program tries to determine what should be included ...

Discover More

Program Successfully in Excel! John Walkenbach's name is synonymous with excellence in deciphering complex technical topics. With this comprehensive guide, "Mr. Spreadsheet" shows how to maximize your Excel experience using professional spreadsheet application development tips from his own personal bookshelf. Check out Excel 2013 Power Programming with VBA today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Determining a Name for a Week Number

You could use Excel to collect data that is useful in your business. For instance, you might use it to collect ...

Discover More

Calculating the Median Age of a Group of People

Suppose you have a worksheet that contains a list of ages and then a count of people who correspond with those ages. You ...

Discover More

Transposing and Linking

Sometimes it is helpful to look at data that is rotated 90 degrees. Excel allows you to use Paste Special to transpose ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is seven more than 6?

2019-09-09 14:21:23

Dave Bonin

Here's another variation:

= IF( ISERROR( FIND( "[", A1 )), A1, SUBSTITUTE( A1 & "]", "]]", "]" ))

If there is no opening bracket, then return the original value.
If there is an opening bracket, then add a closing bracket and then change any occurrence of two closing brackets to one bracket.


2019-09-07 19:09:11

Daryl D.

Terry can use this sub if some of the names do not have a left bracket in it.

Sub close_bracket()
Dim c As Range
For Each c In Selection.Cells
If Left(c, 1) = "[" And Right(c, 1) <> "]" Then c = Left(c, Len(c)) & "]"
Next c
End Sub


2019-09-07 18:58:23

Daryl D.

Hello Allen, I really appreciate ExcelTips and have learned so much from you!
Here is a shorter macro that will work for Terry.

Sub Close_Bracket()
Dim c As Range
For Each c In Selection.Cells
If Right(c, 1) <> "]" Then c = Left(c, Len(c)) & "]"
Next c
End Sub


This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the ribbon interface (Excel 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.