Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. 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: Faster Text File Conversions.
by Allen Wyatt
(last updated December 23, 2017)
Pat wondered how to change the default column data type from “general” to “text” for all columns of a comma-delimited text file. Changing the format of each column, especially when there are many of them, can be tedious at best.
Unfortunately, there is no way to change the default. However, the changing of the column data types can be done much more easily by applying a little of the “pick and choose” features available in most Windows programs. Follow these steps:
If you prefer an even faster way of inputting the information from the comma-delimited text file, you can do so using a macro, thereby skipping the Excel import filters entirely. The following macro, entitled (appropriately enough) Import, will do the trick:
Sub Import() Open "d:\data.txt" For Input As #1 R = 1 While Not EOF(1) 'Scan file line by line C = 1 Entry = "" Line Input #1, Buffer Length = Len(Buffer) i = 1 While i <= Length 'split string into cells If (Mid(Buffer, i, 1)) = "," Then With Application.Cells(R, C) .NumberFormat = "@" 'Text formatting .Value = Entry End With C = C + 1 Entry = "" Else Entry = Entry + Mid(Buffer, i, 1) End If i = i + 1 Wend If Len(Entry) > 0 Then With Application.Cells(R, C) .NumberFormat = "@" 'Text formatting .Value = Entry End With End If R = R + 1 Wend Close #1 End Sub
You should note that you can change the first line of the macro to represent the name of the file you are importing. You should also understand that this macro works on the simplest of comma-delimited text files. If the file was created with quote marks around each field (as is sometimes the case), then the macro will not give the desired results and would need to be changed to compensate for the quote marks. Or, as an alternative, you could simply use search for and remove the quotes after the macro is through importing the information.
ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (7889) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Faster Text File Conversions.
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