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: Preparing Data for Import into Access.

Preparing Data for Import into Access

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated October 12, 2016)

If you are a database programmer you may sometimes get Excel files that you have to "clean up" to put into Access. Two common problems are caused by Social Security Numbers and ZIP Codes. These are best stored as text in the database, and not as numbers as they often are in Excel. (In Excel the numbers may display properly because of cell formatting, and not because they are stored as text.)

Even when the range is formatted as text in Excel, complete with leading zeroes, Access more often than not converts these values to numbers. However, if the number is preceded with an apostrophe, as for a label, Access will correctly import it as text without the leading apostrophe.

To prepare Social Security Numbers for importing in Access a quick little macro can come in handy—one that makes sure that leading zeros are present and that the apostrophe is in place for the cell. To use the macro, just select the range of Social Security Numbers and then run the macro:

Sub SSN2Text()
    Dim c As Range
    Application.ScreenUpdating = False
    'Format selected cells as text
    Selection.NumberFormat = "@"
    For Each c In Selection
        If Left(c, 1) = "'" Then
            'strip the apostrophe, if any
            c = Mid(c, 2, 99)
        Else
            c = "'" & Right("000000000" & c, 9)
        End If
    Next c
    Application.ScreenUpdating = True
End Sub

The solution for the ZIP Codes is similar in nature. The macro to process ZIP Codes steps through each cell in the selection, formats it as text, adds a leading apostrophe, and plugs in any leading zeroes. The difference is that the macro must also account for instances where there are either five-digit or nine-digit ZIP Codes.

Sub ZIP2Text()
    Dim c As Range
    Application.ScreenUpdating = False
    'Format selected cells as text
    Selection.NumberFormat = "@"
    For Each c In Selection
        If Left(c, 1) = "'" Then
            'strip the apostrophe, if any
            c = Mid(c, 2, 99)
        End If
        If Len(c) <= 5 Then
            c = "'" & Right("00000" & c, 5)
        Else
            c = "'" & Right("00000" & c, 10)
        End If
    Next c
    Application.ScreenUpdating = True
End Sub

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2400) 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: Preparing Data for Import into Access.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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