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How do I split the content of a cell in my Excel spreadsheet into multiple cells?

Within the Excel spreadsheet, use the Convert Text to Columns Wizard to separate simple cell content, such as first names and last names, into different columns.

The following steps have been adapted from the Microsoft® Excel help topic Convert Text to Columns.

  1. Before converting the text:
    • Add enough new columns to the right of the column being converted, so that the data once converted will not overwrite the data in existing columns.
    • Alternatively, copy the column to be converted and paste it as a new column positioned to the very right of the last column in your spreadsheet.
  2. Select the range of data that you want to convert.
  3. Since the data in the cell is often presented on a new line for each response, you will need to remove the newline break and replace it with a character that can be used as a Delimiter in Step 7 below.
    • On the Home tab, in the Editing group, click Find & Select.
    • To find and replace text or numbers, click Replace.
    • In the Find what box, hold down the "Alt" key and type 010 on the numeric keypad at the same time. The numbers typed will be replaced by code that you will not see.
    • In the Replace with box, type | .
    • Click the Replace All button.
  4. On the Data tab, in the Data Tools group, click Text to Columns.
  5. In Step 1 of the Convert Text to Columns Wizard, click Delimited, and then click Next.
  6. In Step 2, check the Other delimiter and enter | in the adjacent box, and then clear the other check boxes under Delimiters.
  7. Click Next.
  8. [Optional] In Step 3, click a column in the Data preview box, and only if required, change the “General” column data format to another format. If required, repeat this step for each column in the Data preview box.
  9. Click Finish. You should now see the contents of your original column split into the columns to the right.
  10. [Optional - when splitting the contents of the Q&A column] To remove the { or } brackets, use the Replace function within the menu system at the top of your Excel document:
    • On the Home tab, in the Editing group, click Find & Select.
    • To find and replace text or numbers, click Replace.
    • In the Find what box, type {
    • Leave the "Replace with" field blank
    • Click Replace All
    • This will delete all instances of the { in your Excel file.
    • Repeat the process to remove the }
  11. Save the file to your hard drive.

For more information, view the Microsoft® Excel help topic Convert Text to Columns.

Alternatively, you can remove questions preceding the answers in Excel.




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