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: Shortening ZIP Codes.

Shortening ZIP Codes

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 25, 2020)

2

In the United States, ZIP Codes come in two formats: five-digit and nine-digit. (Actually, the five-digit ZIP Code is a subset of the nine-digit ZIP Code.) If you are in an Excel worksheet that contains address information, you may want to convert nine-digit ZIP Codes to their five-digit equivalent.

This is a rather easy task to accomplish, since all you need to do is strip everything after the fifth digit in the ZIP Code. Follow these steps:

  1. Insert a new column, just to the right of the existing ZIP Code column.
  2. Assuming the ZIP Codes are in column G and you added a new column H, you can enter the following in cell H3:
     =Left(G3, 5)
  1. Copy this formula into all the appropriate cells of column H.
  2. Select the entire column H.
  3. Press Ctrl+C. Excel copies the entire column to the Clipboard.
  4. Display the Home tab of the ribbon.
  5. Click the down-arrow under the Paste tool and choose Paste Special from the resulting choices. Excel displays the Paste Special dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  6. Figure 1. The Paste Special dialog box.

  7. Make sure the Values radio button is selected.
  8. Click on OK. Column H has now been transformed from formulas into the formula results.
  9. Delete column G.

If you have an empty column to the right of your ZIP Codes, you can also use Excel's Text to Columns feature:

  1. Select all the cells that contain your ZIP Codes.
  2. Display the Data tab of the ribbon.
  3. Click the Text to Columns tool, in the Data Tools group. Excel displays the first step of the Convert Text to Columns Wizard. (See Figure 2.)
  4. Figure 2. The first step of the Convert Text to Columns Wizard.

  5. Make sure the Delimited option is selected, then click on Next.
  6. Select the Other check box, place a single dash in the box just to the right of Other, then click on Next.
  7. In the Column Data Format area, select Text. (You want your ZIP Codes to be formatted as text so that you don't lose any leading zeros.)
  8. Click on Finish.

At this point you have the first five digits of the ZIP Code in the original column and the last four digits (if any) in the previously empty column to the right. You can delete the column containing the four digits, if desired.

If you need to truncate ZIP Codes quite often, you may be more interested in a macro-based approach. The following macro will do the trick:

Sub ZIPShorter()
    For Each cell In Selection
        cell.Value = Left(cell.Value, 5)
    Next
End Sub

All you need to do is select the cells containing the ZIP Codes, and then run the macro.

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 (10768) 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: Shortening 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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What is five more than 5?

2020-01-27 10:28:40

J. Woolley

@Willy Vanhaelen
Here's a simpler version of your one-liner:
Sub ZIPShorter()
Selection = Evaluate("LEFT(" & Selection.Address & ",5)")
End Sub


2020-01-25 12:07:53

Willy Vanhaelen

You can replace this macro with a one-liner:

Sub ZIPShorter()
Selection = Evaluate("IF({1},LEFT(" & Selection.Address & ",5))")
End Sub


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