How to Convert Word Files to Excel Files

By Chad Davis

You can convert Microsoft Word 2013 files into Microsoft Excel 2013 files by importing and exporting plain-text files. When you are ready to save your Word document, you can change the file save as type to a plain-text file. Excel can open plain-text files you've saved to your computer and convert the content into a worksheet. Use record delimiters in Word to help Excel distinguish between paragraphs and line breaks in your document.

Create Record Delimiters in Word

Step 1

Open your document in Word. You may need to click the "Enable Editing" button at the top of your document if it is protected.

Step 2

Show paragraph marks and formatting symbols in your document. Click the "Show / Hide Paragraph Marks" button, which resembles the paragraph symbol of a backwards letter "P," in the Paragraph group of the Home ribbon. Alternatively, you can press "Ctrl-Shift*" to toggle paragraph marks. Paragraph marks appear next to each paragraph in your document.

Step 3

Replace your paragraph marks with another character. Click "Replace" in the Editing group of the Home ribbon to open the Find and Replace dialog. Click "More," "Special" and then "Paragraph Mark." Repeat the process to enter another paragraph mark directly after the first in the "Find What" field. Enter a character that is not used throughout your document into the "Replace With" field. For example, enter a ~ tilde symbol. This symbol serves as a record delimiter Excel will use to distinguish paragraphs during the conversion. Click "Replace All" and then "Close" to apply the delimiter to your document.

Convert Plain-Text Files

Step 1

Save your Word document as a plain-text file. In order for Excel to convert your document into its worksheet, you must change the type of file to a .TXT file. Click "File," "Save As," "Computer" and then "Browse" and locate a directory to save your file to. Select "Plain Text (*.txt)" from the Save As Type drop-down and then click "Save." A copy of your document is saved to your computer as a .TXT file.

Step 2

Open your .TXT file in Excel. Open Excel and then click "Open Other Workbooks" from the bottom of the Recent backstage view. Click "Computer," "Browse" and then locate the directory you saved your TXT file to. Click the "All Excel Files" drop-down and then select "Text Files (*.prn;*.txt;*.csv)." Select your .TXT file and then click the "Open" button.

Step 3

Complete the steps in the Text Import Wizard. Select one of the options in the "Original Data Type" group. For example, if you didn't prepare your document for conversion using record delimiters, select "Fixed Width" and then click the "Finish" button to import your document. If you did prepare your document for conversion using record delimiters, such as the tilde ~, then you should select "delimited" and click "Next." Enter your record delimiter into the field next to "Other" in the Delimiters group. For example, enter a tilde. Click "Finish" to finish importing your text into the document.

Tips & Warnings

  • You can save any Word file as a plain-text .TXT file, but special formatting, permissions and media content will not be included in the new file.
  • You can convert a table to text in Word using the Convert to Text command. Select your table in Word, click the "Layout" tab in the Table Tools section, "Data" and then "Convert to Text." Converting your table to text before you save as a plain-text file may help optimize the conversion process.
  • Information in this article applies to Microsoft Word 2013 and Microsoft Excel 2013. Steps may vary with other versions or products.