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)

1

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

Comparing Lists for Duplicates

Do you have two worksheets on which you need to see if there is duplicate information? Here is a couple of quick ways to ...

Discover More

Backing Up Custom Dictionaries

The custom dictionary used in Excel contains the information you decide relative to spelling. After a while, you might ...

Discover More

Preventing Changes to Multiple Selected Worksheets

It is common to select a group of worksheets and then print them. When done, any edits you make may affect the entire ...

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)

Entering Formulas in Excel

The way you signify that you are entering a formula is to start a cell entry with an equal sign. Here is the reason why ...

Discover More

Returning Least-Significant Digits

Do you ever have a need to return just a few digits out of a number? This tip shows different formulas you can use to ...

Discover More

Tracking Down Invalid References

When you discover that there is an invalid reference in a workbook, you can have a bear of a time tracking down the ...

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}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) 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 nine more than 8?

2020-12-11 02:20:05

new

thank you so miuch for your help


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.