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Importing Many Files Into Excel

Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Excel 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Excel, click here: Importing Many Files Into Excel.

Andrew asked if there is a way to import many different files into Excel, all using the same import specifications. For instance, when you choose to import a comma-delimited text file, Excel's import filter asks you a series of questions about how the import should be done. If you are importing a single file, this is not a problem. If you have fifty or sixty files to import, answering the questions over and over again can get very tedious very quickly.

The short answer is that there is no way to do a "mass import" in Excel. Some questions asked by the import filter simply need to be asked for each file. The only way around this is to create your own "import" process using a macro. The macro can either open the source file itself, or it can answer the Import Wizard questions, as it sees fit.

Of course, writing such a macro can be a daunting exercise. It is beyond the scope of ExcelTips to attempt such a macro, particularly since the process to be followed during the import can vary so much from one type of input file to another.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2225) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Excel (Excel 2007 and later) here: Importing Many Files Into Excel.

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Comments for this tip:

Rob Land    03 Sep 2012, 06:45
On the assumption the import file extensions allow you to import as a fixed width, the data allows you to discriminate between the source files adequately and all files will fit into a single workbook.
 Import all the data from each file as a single column (fixed width with no column breaks).
 You can then paste each file's worth into a single worksheet column and use the "Text to Columns" facility to Parse (split up the columns) and use filters to extract the individual file data as required.

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