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: Aligning Cells when Importing from CSV.

Aligning Cells when Importing from CSV

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated March 25, 2023)
This tip applies to Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003


Marinos works with CSV files a lot. In his case, the CSV files are created by a custom application and he found that he can even include formulae in them. So if a line of the CSV file contains ",,,Total:,=SUM(D5:D13),,,," the formula is evaluated and all is fine. One thing Marinos wants to do, however, is indicate in the CSV file how individual cells should be justified after they are imported into Excel. He seems to remember that in Lotus 123 he could use a prefix character to indicate the alignment of the cell (' for left, ^ for middle, and " for right); he figures the same capability would be great in Excel.

There is no way to do this in Excel; alignment of imported data is based on system defaults, such that text is left-justified and numbers are right-justified. One option, however, would be to add a prefix character that you could then later "parse" with a macro to apply the desired alignment. For instance, you could use "<" for left, "^" for center, and ">" for right. When Excel imports the CSV files, the fields are treated as text. You can then run this macro to search for the leading alignment character and do the desired action:

Sub SetJustification()
    Dim rCell As Range

    For Each rCell In ActiveSheet.UsedRange
        With rCell
            Select Case Left(.Value, 1)
                Case "<"
                    .Value = Mid(.Value, 2)
                    .HorizontalAlignment = xlHAlignLeft
                Case "^"
                    .Value = Mid(.Value, 2)
                    .HorizontalAlignment = xlHAlignCenter
                Case ">"
                    .Value = Mid(.Value, 2)
                    .HorizontalAlignment = xlHAlignCenter
            End Select
        End With
    Next
    Set rCell = Nothing
End Sub

The macro checks each cell in the worksheet. If the cell begins with an alignment character, then the character is removed and the proper alignment is applied.

Note:

If you would like to know how to use the macros described on this page (or on any other page on the ExcelTips sites), I've prepared a special page that includes helpful information. Click here to open that special page in a new browser tab.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (3131) 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: Aligning Cells when Importing from CSV.

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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