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: Converting Text to Values.

Converting Text to Values

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated October 10, 2015)

If you are using Excel to massage data imported from another system, you know that often the data needs quite a bit of work. For instance, you might import information that represents a time value, but the data actually ends up being treated by Excel as a text string.

If you find your data in this condition, all is not lost. If you want to convert the text values into actual time values, there are several ways you can accomplish the task. The first is to follow these steps:

  1. Insert a blank column to the right of the data you need to convert.
  2. Just to the right of the first cell that has a text-formatted time value, enter the following formula. Make sure you substitute the address of the cell for A1:
  3.         =VALUE(A1)
  4. Copy the formula down so that each cell to be converted has the formula to its right.
  5. Select the column in which you just put the formulas.
  6. Press Ctrl+C. This copies the selected information to the Clipboard.
  7. Display the Home tab of the ribbon.
  8. Click the down-arrow under the Paste tool and then select Paste Special. Excel displays the Paste Special dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  9. Figure 1. The Paste Special dialog box.

  10. Make sure the Values radio button is selected.
  11. Click on OK. All your formulas are replaced with actual values.
  12. Format the column using a desired Time format.
  13. Delete the original text-formatted time column.

Once you get going with this process, it is pretty quick. Not as quick, however, as the following approach:

  1. Select the cells that contain the text-formatted times. If it is an entire column, select the entire column.
  2. Display the Data tab of the ribbon.
  3. Click the Text to Columns tool. Excel launches the Convert Text to Columns Wizard. (See Figure 2.)
  4. Figure 2. The Convert Text to Columns wizard.

  5. Don't worry about any of the settings in the Wizard—your data should be converted just fine with the defaults.
  6. Click on Finish.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (11438) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Converting Text to Values.

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. ...


Removing Duplicate Rows

Too much data in your worksheet? Does too much of that data duplicate other data? Here's how to get rid of the duplicates ...

Discover More

Pulling All Fridays

It can be handy to know when specific weekdays occur within a range of dates. Figuring out this information, using ...

Discover More

Setting Decimal Tabs in a Table Using the Keyboard

Most people use the mouse to set tab stops in the paragraphs in a table. If you prefer to not use the mouse, then you'll ...

Discover More

Save Time and Supercharge Excel! Automate virtually any routine task and save yourself hours, days, maybe even weeks. Then, learn how to make Excel do things you thought were simply impossible! Mastering advanced Excel macros has never been easier. Check out Excel 2010 VBA and Macros today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Accepting Only a Single Digit

Want a quick way to enter a series of single digits into consecutive cells? The best approach is with a macro, and this ...

Discover More

Using the Same Range Name on Different Worksheets

Defined names can be a great boon when working in a worksheet. Usually names are available throughout an entire workbook, ...

Discover More

Copying Cells to Fill a Range

Excel provides two really helpful shortcuts you can use to fill a range of cells, either horizontally or vertically. ...

Discover More

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.


If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 1 + 5?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)

This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the ribbon interface (Excel 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Newest Tips

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.