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Using a Formula to Replace Spaces with Dashes

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: Using a Formula to Replace Spaces with Dashes.

Viv has a worksheet that contains lots of product descriptions. She needs a way to replace all the spaces between words with dashes. She knows she could use find and replace, but would prefer to use a formula to do the replacements.

Perhaps the easiest way to accomplish this task, using a formula, is to rely on the SUBSTITUTE function. At its most simple, SUBSTITUTE is used to replace one character in a text string with a different character. Thus, assuming your original product description is in cell A1, you could use the following:

=SUBSTITUTE(A1," ","-")

This formula locates every space in the text and replaces them with dashes. If you are concerned that there may be leading or trailing spaces in cell A1, then you can expand the formula using the TRIM function:

=SUBSTITUTE(TRIM(A1)," ","-")

Either of the formulas presented so far does great at replacing regular spaces within text. Understand, however, that if you are importing your original text from a program other than Excel, the text may contain characters that look like regular spaces, but aren't really. In that case, the above approaches won't work and you'll need to do some detective work to figure out exactly what the faux spaces really are so you can replace them.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (12487) 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: Using a Formula to Replace Spaces with Dashes.

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Comments for this tip:

Michael (Micky) Avidan    10 Oct 2014, 12:22
@Madoda,
Please note that this site is not a Forum, therefor it is rare to get answers here.
Anyhow, is the picture, uploaded to the following site, you can find the principle of how to resolve your task:
http://tinypic.com/view.php?pic=ddn76b&s=8
Michael (Micky) Avidan
“Microsoft® Answers" - Wiki author & Forums Moderator
“Microsoft®” MVP – Excel (2009-2015)
ISRAEL
madoda    09 Oct 2014, 10:12
i want to use formula(s) to condense data from non-adjacent cells with 0's in adjacent cells into another row of adjacent cells. This thing is killing me.

data like
34 0 56 0 0 78 49

into something like

34 56 78 49
in another row.
I want one that can work even if the entries are changed into for example:

0 0 34 0 56 78 0 49

it should give me the same result:
34 56 78 49

Please help! Its an emergency.
Madoda    09 Oct 2014, 10:00
i want to condense data from non-adjacent cells with 0's in adjacent cells into another row of adjacent cells. This thing is killing me.

data like
34 0 56 0 0 78 49

into something like
34 56 78 49
in another row please help! Its an emergency
allan rey    24 Feb 2013, 06:53
you may copy the character from the imported text that look likes regular spaces and paste it in the substitute formula in place of the " " character. the same way i am doing when performing find and replace command. thanks.
sirisha    23 Feb 2013, 14:24
Excellent tip!!!
 
 

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