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 Leading Zeroes to ZIP Codes.

Adding Leading Zeroes to ZIP Codes

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated August 11, 2014)

When you import ZIP Codes from a text file into an Excel workbook, it is not uncommon for Excel to translate the values as numbers rather than as ZIP Codes. This results in leading zeroes being dropped from the ZIP Codes, which can obviously cause problems later using the data for its intended purpose.

One solution, of course, is to simply change the display format used for ZIP Code cells. (Excel provides a special format for ZIP Codes, available through the Number tab of the Format Cells dialog box.) This may work for the display, but the underlying data is still missing the leading zeroes.

If you want the underlying data to actually include the leading zeroes, it is best to use a macro that goes through and adds leading zeroes to the information in a cell. The following macro does just that:

Sub MakeZIPText()
    Dim ThisCell As Range

    Application.ScreenUpdating = False
    'Make sure format is text
    Selection.NumberFormat = "@"
    For Each ThisCell In Selection
        'Strip the leading apostrophe, if any
        If Left(ThisCell, 1) = "'" Then
            ThisCell = Mid(ThisCell, 2, 99)
        End If
        'It's a 5-digit ZIP Code
        If Len(ThisCell) <= 5 Then
            ThisCell = "'" & Right("00000" & ThisCell, 5)
        Else
            ThisCell = "'" & Right("00000" & ThisCell, 10)
        End If
    Next ThisCell
    Application.ScreenUpdating = True
End Sub

To use the macro, simply select the range of cells containing the ZIP Codes, then run the macro. The macro actually changes the cell contents—no longer will the cells contain numeric values (the cause of the original problem), but they will contain text values. This allows the leading zeroes to appear at the beginning of the ZIP Codes.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (9663) 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 Leading Zeroes to ZIP Codes.

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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