Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 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: Formatting Canadian Postal Codes.

Formatting Canadian Postal Codes

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated April 24, 2021)
This tip applies to Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365


In Canada, postal codes consist of six characters with a space in the middle: a letter, a number, a letter, a space, a number, a letter, and a final number. Thus, A1B 2C3 is a properly formatted postal code. If you are retrieving postal codes from an external database, they might not have the required space in the middle. Excel makes it easy to add such a space.

Let's assume that the improperly formatted postal codes are in column C. In column D you could use a formula such as the following:

=LEFT(C12,3) & " " & RIGHT(C12,3)

This formula uses string-manipulation functions to place a space in between the first and last three characters. Thus, if C12 contained A1B2C3, then the cell with this formula would display A1B 2C3.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (11167) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Formatting Canadian Postal 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 six more than 3?

2023-11-18 09:47:01

Kurt Holzman

Thank you for this tip. If you change location to 'English (United States)' to 'English (Canada)' the only options Excel offers are Phone Number or Social Insurance Number. This tip is very helpful.

2021-05-09 08:04:20

Rod Grealish

UK postcodes can have two to four characters before the space, such as L1 for Liverpool 1 and G3 for Glasgow 3. The Wikipedia article on UK postcodes states that the following are the valid formats for UK postcodes.

A9 9AA
A99 9AA
AA99 9AA


2021-05-02 12:13:31

Willy Vanhaelen

Here is even a one-liner version of my macro:

Sub AddSpaces()
Selection = Evaluate(Replace("LEFT(@,3)&"" "" & RIGHT(@,3)", "@", Selection.Address))
End Sub

2021-04-24 12:42:28

Willy Vanhaelen

@Hazel Kohler
The formula can be shorter:
=LEFT(A2,IF(LEN(A2)=6,3,4))&" "&RIGHT(A2,3)

If you prefer to do it without helper column you can use this macro which does the changes right in your postal codes column:

Sub AddSpaces()
Dim cell As Range
For Each cell In Selection.Cells
cell = Left(cell, 3) & " " & Right(cell, 3)
Next cell
End Sub

To use it, select the postal codes you which to change and run the macro.

2021-04-24 08:31:52

Hazel Kohler

Postcodes in the UK can have 3 or 4 characters in the first group, but always 3 characters in the second group, after the space (e.g. AB1 1AB, or AB12 1AB). Adding an IF condition to the formula takes this into account - in my example, the code is in AA: IF(LEN(A2)=6,(LEFT(A2,3)&" "&RIGHT(A2,3)),(LEFT(A2,4))&" "&RIGHT(A2,3))

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