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: Using a Formula to Replace Spaces with Dashes.

Using a Formula to Replace Spaces with Dashes

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated March 31, 2018)

Viv has a worksheet that contains lots of product descriptions. She needs a way to replace all the spaces between words with dashes. She knows she could use find and replace, but would prefer to use a formula to do the replacements.

Perhaps the easiest way to accomplish this task, using a formula, is to rely on the SUBSTITUTE function. At its most simple, SUBSTITUTE is used to replace one character in a text string with a different character. Thus, assuming your original product description is in cell A1, you could use the following:

=SUBSTITUTE(A1," ","-")

This formula locates every space in the text and replaces them with dashes. If you are concerned that there may be leading or trailing spaces in cell A1, then you can expand the formula using the TRIM function:

=SUBSTITUTE(TRIM(A1)," ","-")

Either of the formulas presented so far does great at replacing regular spaces within text. Understand, however, that if you are importing your original text from a program other than Excel, the text may contain characters that look like regular spaces, but aren't really. In that case, the above approaches won't work and you'll need to do some detective work to figure out exactly what the faux spaces really are so you can replace them.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (12487) 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: Using a Formula to Replace Spaces with Dashes.

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

Inserting a Document's Path

You can use the FILENAME field to insert a document's filename and, optionally, the path to that filename. However, if ...

Discover More

Formatted Dates Appear Differently on Different Systems

When you format a date in a specific manner, you may be surprised to see that the format changes when you open the ...

Discover More

Using a Different Footer on Secondary Pages

When printing a worksheet, you may want to have the footer different on the first page of your document than it is on ...

Discover More

Professional Development Guidance! Four world-class developers offer start-to-finish guidance for building powerful, robust, and secure applications with Excel. The authors show how to consistently make the right design decisions and make the most of Excel's powerful features. Check out Professional Excel Development today!

More ExcelTips (menu)

Changing the Reference in a Named Range

Define a named range today and you may want to change the definition at some future point. It's rather easy to do, as ...

Discover More

Combining Cell Contents

Excel allows you to easily combine text together. The key is to understand and use the ampersand operator.

Discover More

Only Showing the Maximum of Multiple Iterations

When you recalculate a worksheet, you can determine the maximum of a range of values. Over time, as those values change, ...

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 three less than 5?

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.