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 Imported Information to Numeric Values.

Converting Imported Information to Numeric Values

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated December 26, 2015)

2

Garrett asked if there was a way to quickly convert text data to numerical data. He is importing a text file that uses spaces in the thousands place (1 256) instead of a comma (1,256).

There are several ways to approach this problem. The first is to understand the source of the problem. The text file is probably created on a system that is following a metric standard. Some countries, following the metric standard, use a space for a thousands separator instead of a comma. Thus, you could import the file properly into Excel if you change your regional settings in Windows before starting Excel and doing the import. You can change the regional settings by using the Control Panel.

If you don't want to change the regional settings on your system, there are other approaches you can take. After Excel imports the information, you can select the range of cells that contain numbers and simply do a search and replace. You are searching for a single space and replacing it with nothing. This does away with the space completely, and Excel will then treat the contents of the cell as a number.

You can also use a formula, if desired, to modify the imported data. For instance, if the imported number (containing a space) is in cell A3, you could use this formula to strip out the space:

=1*SUBSTITUTE(A3," ","")

Note that there is a space between the first set of quotes and nothing between the second set of quotes.

If you have quite a bit of data to convert, or if you have text interspersed with the "numbers-only" cells, then you may decide to use a macro to do the conversion. The following macro works on a selection you make before calling it. It also checks to make sure that the cell—after removing the spaces—contains a numeric value. If it doesn't, then no conversion is done.

Sub ClearSpacesIfNumeric()
    Dim c As Range 'Cell under examination
    Dim tmpText As String 'Cell contents without spaces
    Dim i As Integer 'Simple counter

    For Each c In Selection
        tmpText = "" 'Initialize

        'Check each character to see if it's a space
        'If it isn't, add it to tmpText
        For i = 1 To Len(c.Text)
            If Mid(c.Text, i, 1) <> " " Then
                tmpText = tmpText & Mid(c.Text, i, 1)
            End If
        Next i

        'tmpText is now the cell contents without spaces
        'If tmpText is a number, assign its value to
        'the current cell
        If IsNumeric(tmpText) Then
            c.Value = tmpText
        End If
    Next c
End Sub

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (12058) 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 Imported Information to Numeric 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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Creating a Simple TOC

Sometimes a table of contents created by Word can have a few too many bells and whistles. Here's how to get rid of the ...

Discover More

Stubborn Highlighting

When you make extensive edits to a document and those edits include changing the formatting of numbered or bulleted lists, ...

Discover More

Getting Help when Entering Functions

Need a quick memory jog when entering a worksheet function? Here's a shortcut that will be invaluable.

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)

Resolving Revisions

You've reviewed the changes that were made to your workbook using the Highlight Changes tool. Now you need to remove the ...

Discover More

Counting with Subtotals

There are a variety of ways you can count information in different groupings. One convenient way is to use the subtotaling ...

Discover More

Taking Pictures

Have you ever wanted to take a "picture" of a part of a worksheet and put it in another section? This tip explains how to use ...

Discover More
Subscribe

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

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

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 one more than 9?

2017-11-02 12:48:06

Rick Rothstein

Your macro can be written with just a single line of code (albeit a somewhat longish one)...

[code]
Sub ClearSpacesIfNumeric()

Selection = Evaluate(Replace("IF(ISNUMBER(0+SUBSTITUTE(@,"" "","""")),0+SUBSTITUTE(@,"" "",""""),IF(@="""","""",@))", "@", Selection.Address))

End Sub
[/code]


2016-02-23 07:30:33

cornel gewurtz

the same result we can obtain by usung the formula find/replace(a1:a20," ",1)


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
Subscribe

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.