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: Replacing Characters at the End of a Cell.

Replacing Characters at the End of a Cell

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated June 27, 2015)

Sam has a large number of addresses in a worksheet. In those addresses he needs to make sure that all compass directions (NE, SE, NW, and SW) are all uppercase. It would be very helpful if Sam could figure out how to change any of these lowercase (or mixed case) directions that appear only at the end of a cell with their uppercase counterparts. He can't just search for a space followed by "ne", as that would change Newton to NEwton, so he wonders how he can make sure that the replacement occurs only when the letters appear at the end of a cell.

There is no way to accomplish this task using the Find and Replace tools in Excel. That means that you need to use a formula or a macro to do the task. Formulas can be used to make sure that the last two characters of a cell are uppercase:

=LEFT(A1,LEN(A1)-2) & UPPER(RIGHT(A1,2))

The problem with such a formula, however, is that it is non-discriminating. As long as any cell it is used on has a compass direction as its last two characters, there is no problem. But if some cells don't have the compass direction, then you run into problems real fast. In that case you need to actually have the formula check the last characters:

=IF(LOWER(RIGHT(A1,3))=" ne", LEFT(A1,LEN(A1)-2) & "NE",
IF(LOWER(RIGHT(A1,3))=" se", LEFT(A1,LEN(A1)-2) & "SE",
IF(LOWER(RIGHT(A1,3))=" nw", LEFT(A1,LEN(A1)-2) & "NW",
IF(LOWER(RIGHT(A1,3))=" sw", LEFT(A1,LEN(A1)-2) & "SW", A1))))

This formula checks the last three characters to see if they are a space followed by either ne, se, nw, or sw. If this is the case, then those last two characters are made uppercase. The formula can be shortened just a bit if you approach it differently:

=IF(OR(LOWER(RIGHT(A1,3))=" ne", LOWER(RIGHT(A1,3))=" se",
LOWER(RIGHT(A1,3))=" nw", LOWER(RIGHT(A1,3))=" sw"),
LEFT(A1,LEN(A1)-2) & UPPER(RIGHT(A1,2)), A1)

If you prefer to not use a formula, you can easily create a macro that will do the checking and conversion for you:

Sub CapDirections()
    For Each RCell In Selection
        CText = UCase(Right(RCell.Value, 3))
        If CText = " NE" Or CText = " SE" _
          Or CText = " SW" Or CText = " NW" Then
            RCell.Value = Left(RCell.Value, _
              Len(RCell.Value) - 3) + CText
        End If
    Next
End Sub

To use the macro, just select the cells containing the addresses, and then run it. It checks to see if one of the four compass points are at the end of the cell value, and if it is then it makes sure that the compass direction is uppercase.

You should note that these solutions are based upon there only being four possible compass directions in your addresses. If your address have more wide-ranging compass directions (like N or SSE) then you will definitely want to use a macro-based solution because the checking quickly becomes very complex for a formula.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (9745) 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: Replacing Characters at the End of a Cell.

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

Specifying Different Weekends with NETWORKDAYS

The NETWORKDAYS worksheet function can be used to easily determine the number of work days (Monday through Friday) within a ...

Discover More

Filling Table Cells with a Macro

Want to stuff a value into each cell of a table? You can either type the value over and over and over again, or you can use ...

Discover More

Changing the Ribbon's Size and Look

The Ribbon, while debatably handy, can be downright difficult to use for those with a sight impairment. Here are some ideas ...

Discover More

Excel Smarts for Beginners! Featuring the friendly and trusted For Dummies style, this popular guide shows beginners how to get up and running with Excel while also helping more experienced users get comfortable with the newest features. Check out Excel 2013 For Dummies today!

More ExcelTips (menu)

Searching for Leading Apostrophes

Take a look at the Formula bar when you select a cell that contains text, and you may see an apostrophe at the beginning of ...

Discover More

Using Find and Replace to Pre-Pend Characters

Need to add some characters to the beginning of the contents in a range of cells? It's not as easy as you might hope, but ...

Discover More

Searching by Columns, by Default

Do you often want to search through a worksheet by column rather than by row? Excel defaults to searching by row, of course, ...

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. 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 four less than 6?

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.