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: Capitalizing Just a Surname.

Capitalizing Just a Surname

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated June 16, 2017)

4

Cheryl is using a worksheet that has, in column A, client names in the format "Smith, Jane." She would like to capitalize only the surname, as in "SMITH, Jane", leaving the rest of the name unchanged.

If there is one and only one comma that separates the surname from the first name, you can create a formula to do the conversion. Assuming the name is in A1, the formula would be:

=UPPER(LEFT(A1,FIND(",",A1)-1))&MID(A1,FIND(",",A1),LEN(A1))

If you prefer to not use a formula (which may mess up the look of your worksheet), you could also use a macro to convert the names, in place. Consider the following:

Sub CapitalizeSurnames()
    Dim rCell As Range
    Dim iComma As Integer
    For Each rCell In Selection
        iComma = InStr(rCell, ",")
        If iComma > 0 Then
            rCell = UCase(Left(rCell, iComma - 1)) & _
              Mid(rCell, iComma)
        End If
    Next
    Set rCell = Nothing
End Sub

Simply select the cells that you want to convert (such as those in column A) and then run the macro. It makes the conversion to the names in the cells.

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 (12639) 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: Capitalizing Just a Surname.

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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Comments

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What is 6 - 3?

2017-06-18 13:22:53

Willy Vanhaelen

Here is a one line macro that does the job.

Sub CapitalizeSurnames()
Selection = Evaluate(Replace("IF(ISERROR(FIND("","",@)),@,UPPER(LEFT(@,FIND("","",@)-1))&MID(@,FIND("","",@),LEN(@)))", "@", Selection.Address))
End Sub


2017-06-17 06:27:49

John

Ah, good point.

I read it completely the wrong way and didn't test it either. Unforgiveable. :-)

Thanks for the correction - I'll be more careful when commenting (and reading!) in future.

John


2017-06-16 09:15:45

Bryan Marks

John, you raise a good point about the complexity involved with the capitalization of last names. However, the point of this tip is to capitalize the entire surname (e.g., "de la Croix" would become "DE LA CROIX", "Macdonald" would become "MACDONALD"). The code above does just that.


2017-06-16 05:18:34

John

This is far too simplistic - what about, say, 'de la Croix', or 'd'Oliviera', or 'Macdonald' and 'MacDonald'. It's pretty much impossible to cover every possibility, particularly as some surnames with exactly the same letters are capitalised differently depending on the person whose surname it is! I guess this is a reasonable approximation but definitely not a comprehensive solution.


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