How to Convert a Plain Text Document Into an Excel Spreadsheet

By Shreya Mehta

At times, users may need to import data in plain text documents into Microsoft Excel so that they can perform calculations and other analysis using Microsoft Excel tools. Users can save a lot of time and effort by importing the data into Microsoft Excel and then manipulating it, rather than working with text files. Data in plain text documents need to be properly formatted before they can turn into Excel spreadsheets. Each data point must be stored in a single cell. Learn how to import data from a plain text document into Microsoft Excel and create a spreadsheet by following a few straightforward steps.

Step 1

Open a new workbook in Microsoft Excel. Go to the "Data" tab and click on "From Text" under the "Get External Data" section.

Step 2

Find the text file that you would like to import on your computer and click on the "Import" button.

Step 3

Choose "Delimited" or "Fixed Width." Delimited indicates that the data are separated by delimiters, such as commas, tabs, semicolons, spaces or other characters. Fixed width indicates that the fields are aligned in columns or spaces between the fields. Click on the "Next" button.

Step 4

Choose what the delimiter is if you chose "Delimited" in the previous step. If you chose "Fixed Width," you can create a break line of where you want the fields to be separated by clicking on the position. Break lines can be repositioned by clicking and dragging. They can also be deleted by double-clicking on them. Click on the "Next" button.

Step 5

Choose a column data format, such as general, text or date. You can also select a field at this time that you don't want to import, and click on the "Do not import column (skip)" radio button. Click on the "Finish" button.

Step 6

Select whether you want to import the data in an existing worksheet or a new one. If you choose existing worksheet, select the beginning cell where you would like to import the data. Click "OK." The data will appear in spreadsheet format.

Step 7

Save the data as a spreadsheet by clicking on the "Save" button. Select "Excel 97-2003 Workbook (*.xls)" in the "Save as type" field.