How to Open Tab Delimited Files in Excel

By Jason Artman

Microsoft Excel has the ability to open tab-delimited files and display them as spreadsheets. However, tab-delimited files have the extension TXT. Therefore, a tab-delimited file will open in Notepad rather than Excel when you double-click it. Instead of double-clicking a tab-delimited file, launch Excel first and open the file from within Excel.

Step 1

Launch Excel from the Microsoft Office Start menu folder. Click the "File" tab in the upper-left corner of the window, then click "Open."

Step 2

Click the drop-down menu at the bottom of the window currently displaying "All Excel Files," then click "All Files."

Step 3

Double-click the tab-delimited file that you want to open. A window titled "Text Import Wizard" appears.

Step 4

Click to select the "Delimited" radio button, then click "Next."

Step 5

Click to place a check in the "Tab" box under "Delimiters," then click "Next."

Step 6

Click a column in the preview area at the bottom of the window, and then click a radio button such as "Text" or "Date" in the upper-left corner to indicate the type of data in the column. The "General" radio button is selected by default for all columns.

Step 7

Click the "Finish" button to open the file in Excel.