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 September 30, 2017)

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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Fitting Your Text In a Table Cell

Got some text you absolutely must fit on a single line in a table cell? Then you'll appreciate this rather esoteric setting ...

Discover More

Understanding Color and Conditional Formatting Codes

When you create custom cell formats, you can include codes that allow you to set the color of a cell and that specify the ...

Discover More

Getting Rid of Markup

Word includes editing tools that allow you to track what changes you've made in a document. Making the tracked changes go ...

Discover More

Program Successfully in Excel! John Walkenbach's name is synonymous with excellence in deciphering complex technical topics. With this comprehensive guide, "Mr. Spreadsheet" shows how to maximize your Excel experience using professional spreadsheet application development tips from his own personal bookshelf. Check out Excel 2013 Power Programming with VBA today!

More ExcelTips (menu)

Pulling Access Information into Excel

If you have a lot of data stored in Access databases, you may want to get at that information using Excel. There are a few ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is seven less than 7?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the menu interface (Excel 97, Excel 2000, Excel 2002, or Excel 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.