**Please Note: **
This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Excel in Microsoft 365, and 2021. 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 Dashes between Letters.

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated September 28, 2024)**This tip applies to** Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Excel in Microsoft 365, and 2021

Scott wonders how he can make Excel automatically add a dash between every letter in a given cell. As an example, if cell A1 contains "house", Scott would like to convert it to "h-o-u-s-e".

This can be done with a formula, but it quickly becomes unwieldy. For instance, the following formula can be used to put dashes between the letters of whatever you type into cell A1:

=CHOOSE(LEN(A1),A1,LEFT(A1,1) & "-" & RIGHT(A1,1), LEFT(A1,1) & "-" & MID(A1,2,1) & "-" & RIGHT(A1,1), LEFT(A1,1) & "-" & MID(A1,2,1) & "-" & MID(A1,3,1) & "-" & RIGHT(A1,1),LEFT(A1,1) & "-" & MID(A1,2,1) & "-" & MID(A1,3,1) & "-" & MID(A1,4,1) & "-" & RIGHT(A1,1), LEFT(A1,1) & "-" & MID(A1,2,1) & "-" & MID(A1,3,1) & "-" & MID(A1,4,1) & "-" & MID(A1,5,1) & "-" & RIGHT(A1,1))

This particular example of a formula will only work on text up to six characters in length. Thus, it would work properly for "house", but not for "household". The formula could be lengthened but, again, it would quickly become very long.

A better approach is to use a macro to do the conversion. If you want to insert the dashes right into the cell, you could use a macro such as this:

Sub AddDashes1() Dim Cell As Range Dim sTemp As String Dim C As Integer For Each Cell In Selection sTemp = "" For C = 1 To Len(Cell) sTemp = sTemp & Mid(Cell, C, 1) & "-" Next Cell.Value = Left(sTemp, Len(sTemp) - 1) Next Cell End Sub

This macro is designed to be used on a selected range of cells. Just select the cells you want to convert, and then run the macro. The dashes are added between each letter in the cells.

As is often the case, the macro could be shortened quite a bit. For example, the following could be used to do the conversion:

Sub AddDashes1() Dim Cell As Range Dim sTemp As String For Each Cell In Selection sTemp = StrConv(Cell, vbUnicode) sTemp = Replace(sTemp, Chr(0), "-") Cell.Value = Left(sTemp, Len(sTemp) - 1) Next Cell End Sub

This could be made shorter still, but I purposely broke out the lines within the For...Next loop so that they are more understandable. The key to this approach is the StrConv function which, in this case, converts the cell contents so that each character uses two bytes (in Unicode), and the second byte will be null, or an ASCII value of 0. Then, each of the null characters is replaced with a dash. Finally, everything except the trailing dash is stuffed back into the cell.

There is one thing to note about this approach: While it is shorter (and can be shorter still), it won't work on the Mac. So, if you are sharing your workbook that contains a macro such as this with someone using a Mac, you won't want to use the StrConv function at all. (It is the Unicode conversion process used in StrConv that won't work on the Mac. Other uses of StrConv, which aren't necessary in this tip, will work just fine.)

If you prefer to not modify the original cell values, you could create a user-defined function that would do the job:

Function AddDashes2(Src As String) As String Dim sTemp As String Dim C As Integer Application.Volatile sTemp = "" For C = 1 To Len(Src) sTemp = sTemp & Mid(Src, C, 1) & "-" Next AddDashes2 = Left(sTemp, Len(sTemp) - 1) End Function

To use this function, you would use the following in your worksheet:

=AddDashes2(A1)

If you want to make sure that the function is a bit more robust, you could modify it so that it handles multiple words. In such an instance you would not want it to treat a space as a "dashable letter." For example, you would want the routine to add dashes to "one two" so it came out as "o-n-e t-w-o" instead of "o-n-e- -t-w-o". The following variation on the function will do the trick:

Function AddDashes3(Src As String) As String Dim sTemp As String Dim C As Integer Application.Volatile sTemp = "" For C = 1 To Len(Src) sTemp = sTemp & Mid(Src, C, 1) If Mid(Src, C, 1) <> " " And Mid(Src, C + 1, 1) <> " " And C < Len(Src) Then sTemp = sTemp & "-" End If Next AddDashes3 = sTemp End Function

Each of these user-defined functions (AddDashes2 and AddDashes3) could be shortened by utilizing the StrConv approach described earlier, with the same caveat noted earlier.

*Note:*

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This tip (9634) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Excel in Microsoft 365, and 2021. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: **Adding Dashes between Letters**.

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2024-10-04 15:44:16

J. Woolley

=RegExReplace(Text, Pattern, Replacement,

[Instance], [IgnoreCase], [Multiline])

This function uses the VBScript 5.5 regular expression syntax described here: https://learn.microsoft.com/en-us/previous-versions/1400241x(v=vs.85)

and https://drive.google.com/file/d/1qWS2qLib0sL_u6Sh95FuEeZxRzzr4SUE/view

It is similar to the new Excel function REGEXREPLACE described here: https://insider.microsoft365.com/en-us/blog/new-regular-expression-regex-functions-in-excel

The following formula satisfies the Tip's requirement:

=RegExReplace(A1, "\w\B", "$&-")

"\w\B" matches any word character (A-Z, a-z, 0-9, and underscore) that is not followed by a word boundary (space).

"$&-" replaces the match with itself followed by dash (hyphen).

The default is global (all matches).

This is not an array formula and does not require Excel 2019 or later.

A1 can optionally be replaced by TRIM(A1); in that case the result is the same as the formula in my most recent comment below.

See https://sites.google.com/view/MyExcelToolbox/

2024-10-03 15:26:58

J. Woolley

=SUBSTITUTE(

TEXTJOIN("-", , MID(TRIM(A1), ForNext(1, LEN(TRIM(A1))), 1)),

"- -", " ")

TEXTJOIN requires Excel 2019 or later, but My Excel Toolbox includes the JoinAsText function which duplicates TEXTJOIN except its 2nd argument IgnoreEmpty is required (not optional). Therefore, the following formula returns the same result:

=SUBSTITUTE(

JoinAsText("-", TRUE, MID(TRIM(A1), ForNext(1, LEN(TRIM(A1))), 1)),

"- -", " ")

This array formula does not require Excel 2019, but in older versions it must be entered using Ctrl+Shift+Enter.

See https://sites.google.com/view/MyExcelToolbox/

2024-10-02 04:22:50

sandeep kothari

Got it Woolley. Thanks.

2024-10-01 09:56:41

J. Woolley

@sandeep kothari

Please review all the previous comments below.

2024-10-01 09:42:26

sandeep kothari

2024-09-30 11:30:51

J. Woolley

=SUBSTITUTE(TEXTJOIN("-",,MID(A1,SEQUENCE(LEN(A1)),1)),"- -"," ")

TEXTJOIN is in Excel 2019 but SEQUENCE requires Excel 2021 or later.

The following dynamic array function in My Excel Toolbox returns an array of numeric values beginning with Start incrementing by Step until Finish (not beyond):

=ForNext(Start, Finish, [Step], [AsColumn])

Start, Finish, and Step can be any numeric value. Default Step is 1.

If AsColumn is FALSE (default), the result is a row array; TRUE returns a column array.

Here is a version of Andy's formula that uses ForNext instead of SEQUENCE in case you use Excel 2019:

=SUBSTITUTE(

TEXTJOIN("-", , MID(TRIM(A1), ForNext(1, LEN(TRIM(A1))), 1)),

"- -", " ")

(The formula was divided into 3 lines for appearance.) Notice TRIM(A1) removes all spaces from text except single spaces between words; this would be useful in Andy's formula, also.

See https://sites.google.com/view/MyExcelToolbox/

2024-09-29 12:34:31

Jeff C

=LET(

chars, MID(A1, SEQUENCE(LEN(A1)), 1),

hyphenated, TEXTJOIN("-", , chars),

cleaned, SUBSTITUTE(hyphenated, "- -", " "),

cleaned + N("Converts each character in A1 to an array, joins with hyphens, replaces double hyphens with a space."))

Or you could make a LAMBDA out of it and give it a name like 'Hypenator' so you can just enter =Hypenator (A1) etc.

=LAMBDA(input,

LET(

chars, MID(input, SEQUENCE(LEN(input)), 1),

hyphenated, TEXTJOIN("-", , chars),

cleaned, SUBSTITUTE(hyphenated, "- -", " "),

finalResult, cleaned + N("Converts each character in input to array, joins with hyphens, replaces double hyphens with space."),

finalResult

)

)

2024-09-29 09:32:07

Andy

=SUBSTITUTE(TEXTJOIN("-",,MID(A1,SEQUENCE(LEN(A1)),1)),"- -"," ")

2024-09-29 09:28:48

Andy

=SUBSTITUTE(TEXTJOIN("-",,MID(SUBSTITUTE(A1," ","@"),SEQUENCE(LEN(SUBSTITUTE(A1," ","@"))),1)),"-@-"," ")

I am sure there is an easier approach but that is the one that came to mind for me. It could be shortened slightly by using LET and defining SUBSTITUTE(A1," ","@") as a variable, as it's used twice in the formula. There may be a limit to the length of the string it can process, in that case the macro would be the better pick.

2024-09-28 10:15:47

Allen

-Allen

2024-09-28 07:40:58

Andy

=TEXTJOIN("-",,MID(A1,SEQUENCE(LEN(A1)),1))

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