Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, and 2013. 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 6, 2014)

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.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (126) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, and 2013. 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. ...

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