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: Shortening ZIP Codes.

Shortening ZIP Codes

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated July 2, 2016)

2

In the United States, ZIP Codes come in two formats: five-digit and nine-digit. (Actually, the five-digit ZIP Code is a subset of the nine-digit ZIP Code.) If you are an Excel worksheet that contains address information, you may want to convert nine-digit ZIP Codes to their five-digit equivalent.

This is a rather easy task to accomplish, since all you need to do is strip everything after the fifth digit in the ZIP Code. Follow these steps:

  1. Insert a new column, just to the right of the existing ZIP Code column.
  2. Assuming the ZIP Codes are in column G and you added a new column H, you can enter the following in cell H3:
     =Left(G3, 5)
  1. Copy this formula into all the appropriate cells of column H.
  2. Select the entire column H.
  3. Press Ctrl+C. Excel copies the entire column to the Clipboard.
  4. Display the Paste Special dialog box by choosing Paste Special from the Edit menu. (See Figure 1.)
  5. Figure 1. The Paste Special dialog box.

  6. Make sure the Values radio button is selected.
  7. Click on OK. Column H has now been transformed from formulas into the formula results.
  8. Delete column G.

If you have an empty column to the right of your ZIP Codes, you can also use Excel's Text to Columns feature:

  1. Select all the cells that contain your ZIP Codes.
  2. From the Data menu, choose Text to Columns. (See Figure 2.)
  3. Figure 2. The Convert Text to Columns Wizard.

  4. Make sure the Delimited option is selected, then click on Next.
  5. Select the Other check box, place a single dash in the box just to the right of Other, then click on Next.
  6. In the Column Data Format area, select Text. (You want your ZIP Codes to be formatted as text so that you don't lose any leading zeros.)
  7. Click on Finish.

At this point you have the first five digits of the ZIP Code in the original column, and the last four digits (if any) in the previously empty column to the right. You can delete the column containing the four digits, if desired.

If you need to truncate ZIP Codes quite often, you may be more interested in a macro-based approach. The following macro will do the trick:

Sub ZIPShorter()
    For Each cell In Selection
        cell.Value = Left(cell.Value, 5)
    Next
End Sub

All you need to do is select the cells containing the ZIP Codes, and then run the macro.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2654) 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: Shortening ZIP Codes.

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

Combinations for Members in Meetings

Got a large group of people listed in a worksheet and you want to make sure that each person has met with every other person ...

Discover More

Creating a Directory in a Macro

One of the things you can do with macros is to work with disk files. As you do so, you may have a need to create a new ...

Discover More

Creating Page Footers and Headers

Headers and footers can add a final, professional touch to your printed document. Here's the quick way to add the headers and ...

Discover More

Create Custom Apps with VBA! Discover how to extend the capabilities of Office 2013 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Access) with VBA programming, using it for writing macros, automating Office applications, and creating custom applications. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2013 today!

More ExcelTips (menu)

Working with Imperial Linear Distances

Excel works with decimal values very easily. It is more difficult for the program to work with non-decimal values, such as ...

Discover More

Pulling Apart Characters in a Long String

You can easily use formulas to pull apart text stored in a cell. For instance, if you need to pull individual characters from ...

Discover More

Converting Phone Numbers

Sometimes you receive a phone number that contains alphabetic characters and you need to convert it to a purely numeric phone ...

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 9 - 2?

2017-04-02 02:24:59

Alan Elston

@ Willy
Yep using Evaluate to replace a loop is sometimes a great alternative
https://usefulgyaan.wordpress.com/2013/06/19/avoid-loop-for-range-calculations-evaluate/
Alan


2017-04-01 10:34:49

Willy Vanhaelen

You can replace the loop in the macro with only one line of code:

Sub ZIPShorter()
Selection = Evaluate("IF(Row(),LEFT(" & Selection.Address & ",5))")
End Sub


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.