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Reversing Names In Place

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: Reversing Names In Place.

George often has to work with data provided by other people. In working with this data he may need to convert a name, say Joe Bloggs, so that the last name is first, as in Bloggs, Joe. George understands that he can use a formula to do the name reversal, but he needs to do it in the same cell in which the name resides. He wonders if there is a built-in command that will perform this task.

No, there isn't a built-in command to do it. You can, however, create a macro that will do the switching for you. This macro could then be assigned to a shortcut key or placed on a toolbar so it can be easily accessed. Here's a simple macro that will do the switching:

Sub ReverseNames()
    Dim x As Integer
    Dim sCell As String
    Dim sLast As String
    Dim sFirst As String
    Dim rCell As Range

    For Each rCell In Selection
        sCell = rCell.Value
        x = InStr(sCell, " ")
        If x > 0 Then
            sFirst = Left(sCell, x - 1)
            sLast = Mid(sCell, x + 1)
            rCell.Value = sLast & ", " & sFirst
        End If
    Set rCell = Nothing
End Sub

To use the macro, just select the range of cells you want to affect and then run it. The macro searches for a space within the cell and considers everything in front of the space to be the first name and everything after the space to be the last name. These two elements are reversed, a comma put between them, and stuffed back into the cell.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (3812) 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: Reversing Names In Place.

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Comments for this tip:

speedyjim    14 May 2012, 11:20
How would the macro have to change if you have names in the format, firstname MI lastname (and you want to change it to lastname,firstname MI)?

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