Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. 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 to ASCII Text.

Converting to ASCII Text

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated August 26, 2017)


Brenda has a lot of information that has been imported or pasted into a worksheet. Sometimes the text in the worksheet will contain "foreign" and strange characters. She wonders if there is a way to easily convert the data so that it contains no non-ASCII characters and, perhaps, some foreign characters are converted to regular ASCII values (such as converting accented letters to non-accented letters).

There are a couple of things you can try. First, you can use the CLEAN worksheet function to get rid of non-printable characters. Just use the function in this manner:


The result is "cleaned" text, without the non-printables. If you want to replace foreign characters with regular ASCII characters, that will need to be done with a macro. Here's an example of a relatively straightforward approach:

Sub StripAccent()
    Dim sAcc As String
    Dim sReg As String
    Dim sA As String
    Dim sR As String
    Dim i As Integer

    sAcc = "ŠŽšžŸÀÁÂÃÄ...ÇÈÉÊËÌÍÎÏÐ''""ÕÖÙÚÛÜÝàáâãäåçè©êëìí®ïðñòóôõöùúûüýÿ"
    sReg = "SZszYAAAAAACEEEEIIIIDNOOOOOUUUUYaaaaaaceeeeiiiidnooooouuuuyy"

    For i = 1 To Len(sAcc)
        sA = Mid(sAcc, i, 1)
        sR = Mid(sReg, i, 1)
        Selection.Replace What:=sA, Replacement:=sR, _
          LookAt:=xlPart, MatchCase:=True
End Sub

The macro steps through the characters in the sAcc variable and, one at a time, uses Find and Replace to replace them with the corresponding character in the sReg variable. You can adjust the contents of sAcc and sReg to reflect your conversion needs; the key is to make sure that they are both the same length.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (11493) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Converting to ASCII Text.

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 minus 3?

2017-08-29 12:17:06

Willy Vanhaelen

@Ru Lopi
If you want to do it with a UDF this smaler function will do it much faster since it has only one loop:

Function StripAccent(sText As String) As String
Dim X As Integer, Y As Integer
Const sAcc = "ŠŽšžŸÀÁÂÃÄÅÇÈÉÊËÌÍÎÏÐÑÒÓÓÕÖÙÚÛÜÝàáâãäåçèéêëìíîïðñòóôõöùúûüýÿ"
Const sReg = "SZszYAAAAAACEEEEIIIIDNOOOOOUUUUYaaaaaaceeeeiiiidnooooouuuuyy"
For X = 1 To Len(sText)
Y = InStr(sAcc, Mid(sText, X, 1))
If Y Then Mid(sText, X, 1) = Mid(sReg, Y, 1)
Next X
StripAccent = sText
End Function

2017-08-28 08:40:55

Ru Lopi

The following will replace foreign characters in a cell.

In a module place this code:

Function funcStripAccent(strText As String) As String

Dim sAcc As String
Dim sReg As String

Dim intInner As Integer
Dim intOuter As Integer

sAcc = "ŠŽšžŸÀÁÂÃÄÅÇÈÉÊËÌÍÎÏÐÑÒÓÓÕÖÙÚÛÜÝàáâãäåçèéêëìíîïðñòóôõöùúûüýÿ"
sReg = "SZszYAAAAAACEEEEIIIIDNOOOOOUUUUYaaaaaaceeeeiiiidnooooouuuuyy"

For intOuter = 1 To Len(strText)

For intInner = 1 To Len(sAcc)

If Mid(strText, intOuter, 1) = Mid(sAcc, intInner, 1) Then
Mid(strText, intOuter, 1) = Mid(sReg, intInner, 1)
End If

Next intInner

Next intOuter

funcStripAccent = strText

End Function

Assuming that the foreign text is in A1 then in the destination cell enter: =funcStripAccent(A1)
This can be fllled to other cells as required.

As mentioned, sAcc and sReg must be the same length with matching conversion characters.

2017-08-26 14:30:11

Willy Vanhaelen

The macro in this tip is really sloppy work. When you copy and paste it in VBA the "sAcc = ..." row gets entirely blood red meaning there is an error. This is because at 2 places in the string there is a single quotation mark which is not allowed . When you remove them you can run the macro but it replaces all the characters in the selected text with an o (ooooooo...)!!!.

Obviously the sAcc and sReg strings should be exactly the same length which is not the case here. The sAcc string is much longer and contains beside the 2 quotation marks a dozen of useless characters including some question marks. These causes the erroneous result. The last question mark in the sAcc string corresponds to the letter o in the sReg string so when sA contains a ? , Replace considers this as a wild card and replaces all the characters in the selection with an o which is the content of sR at that moment.

Here is my version of the macro (smaler as usual :-) that does the job properly:

Sub StripAccent()
Const sAcc = "ŠŽšžŸÀÁÂÃÄÅÇÈÉÊËÌÍÎÏÐÑÒÓÔÕÖÙÚÛÜÝàáâãäåçéèêëìíîïðñòóôõöùúûüýÿ"
Const sReg = "SZszYAAAAAACEEEEIIIIDNOOOOOUUUUYaaaaaaceeeeeiiionooooouuuuyy"
Dim X As Integer
For X = 1 To Len(sAcc)
Selection.Replace _
What:=Mid(sAcc, X, 1), _
Replacement:=Mid(sReg, X, 1), _
LookAt:=xlPart, MatchCase:=True
End Sub

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