How to Import Text File with Multiple Delimiters into Excel (3 Methods)

This article illustrates how to import text file data with multiple delimiters into an Excel worksheet using 3 different methods. We’ll use Excel’s built-in features and VBA code to accomplish the task. Let’s dive into the examples to get a clear understanding of the methods.


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3 Suitable Methods to Import a Text File with Multiple Delimiters into Excel

Let’s say we have a dataset with multiple delimiters in a text file. The dataset in the text file looks like this-

The dataset represents sale details for a shop. You can download the text file for practice from the link. Here, each of the data is separated by either a comma or a semicolon. We want to import this data from the text file to an Excel spreadsheet.


1. Import Text File Data with Multiple Delimiters Using the Legacy Wizards Feature

The legacy wizard’s feature to import text files facilitates us with a bunch of options to set the desired structure of the imported dataset in the Excel worksheet.

Go to the Legacy Wizards

  • Go to the Data tab from the Excel Ribbon.
  • Click on the Get Data option.
  • Hover the mouse on the Legacy Wizards option.
  • Choose the From Text (Legacy) option.

Import Text Files with Multiple Delimiters into Excel

If the From Text (Legacy) Option is not Available
In case the From Text (Legacy) option is not available in the Legacy Wizards options, do the following to enable it.

  • Press Alt + T + O on the keyboard to open the Excel Options.
  • Click on the Data tab.
  • Check the box named “From Text (Legacy)” under the “Show legacy data import wizards” options.
  • Finally hit OK to save the settings.

Import Text Files with Multiple Delimiters into Excel

Import the Text File
As we’ve clicked on the From Text (Legacy) option from the Legacy Wizards, it opened the “Import Text Filewindow to choose the text file. Navigate to the file location and choose to import it.

Import Text Files with Multiple Delimiters into Excel

Configure the Settings
Step 1 of 3:

  • Select the Delimited option.
  • Check the “My data has headers” option, as the sample dataset, we’re using has a header.
  • Click the Next button.

Import Text Files with Multiple Delimiters into Excel

Step 2 of 3:

  • Check the Semicolon and Comma options under the Delimiters options.

Note: Our dataset has these two delimiters. There are some more options including the “Other” option for delimiters that are not available in the list.

  • Also, check the “Treat consecutive delimiters as one” option.
  • Click the Next button.

Import Text Files with Multiple Delimiters into Excel

Step 3 of 3:

  • By default, the column data format is General. In this example, we’ll leave it as it is.
  • Finally hit the Finish button. 

Import Text Files with Multiple Delimiters into Excel

Choose the Target
After all the above steps, choose where to put your imported data. Here, we’ve chosen cell A1 in the current worksheet.

Imported Dataset

Import Text Files with Multiple Delimiters into Excel

Read More: How to Import Data into Excel from Another Excel File (2 Ways)


2. Prepare and Then Import Text File Data with Multiple Delimiters Using the Get and Transform Data Feature

In this illustration, we’ll use Excel’s get and transform data feature to import data with multiple delimiters from a text file to an Excel worksheet. But this time we need to prepare the data before importing it to Excel.

Prepare the Dataset
We need to reduce multiple delimiters to one delimiter to work with the get and transform feature. For our dataset, we need to replace all the semicolons with commas. To do that, we’ve done the following.

  • Created a copy of the original text file named SampleDataModified.txt.
  • Opened the file and pressed Ctrl + H.
  • In the Replace window put a semicolon in the “Find what” input box and a comma in the “Replace with” input box.
  • Click on the Replace All button.

Import Text File with Multiple Delimiters into Excel

  • We now have only commas as delimiters in our dataset.

Import the Text File
Follow the simple steps to import the modified text file using the get and transform feature in Excel.

  • Go to the Data tab.
  • Click on the Get Data button.
  • Hover on the From File option.
  • Click on the From Text/CSV option.

Import Text File with Multiple Delimiters into Excel

  • Navigate to the file location of the SampleTextModified.txt and select the file to import.

  • In the preview, the dataset is shown as a table.
  • Click on the Load button.

Import Text File with Multiple Delimiters into Excel

Imported Dataset

Import Text File with Multiple Delimiters into Excel

Read More: How to Import Data from Text File into Excel (3 Methods)


Similar Readings


3. Run a VBA Code to Import Text File Data with Multiple Delimiters into Excel Worksheet

We’re going to use the VBA Split and InStr functions to configure the VBA code to import text files to an Excel worksheet. Let’s introduce the functions first.

VBA Split Function: The Split function in Excel VBA is used to split a string into substrings. The function returns a zero-based one-dimensional array. Each element of the array is a substring separated by a predefined delimiter. The syntax of the VBA function is-

Split(expression, [delimiter, [limit, [compare]]])

Here,
expressionThis required parameter represents a text string that contains substrings and delimiter. If the string is empty, the function will also return an empty array.

delimiter– A string character that is used to split the string into substrings. If omitted the function will use a space character as the delimiter. And if it is an empty string, it’ll return the original string as the output.

limit– It represents the number of substrings to return in the output. If omitted, the function will return all the substrings.

compare– It has several values. We can use vbBinaryCompare for a casesensitive delimiter and vbTextCompare for a case-insensitive delimiter in the Split function.

VBA InStr Function: We use the InStr function in Excel VBA to search a specific string within a given string from a predefined position. The syntax is-

InStr([start], string 1, string 2, [compare])

Here,
[start]- The position from which it starts searching. The default is 1 if omitted.
string 1- The given string from which the function searches for the desired string.
string 2- The specific string that the function searches within the given string.
[compare]- The type of comparison. The default is Binary Comparison.

To import text file data with multiple delimiters into an Excel worksheet, we need to open and write VBA code in the visual basic editor. Follow the steps to open the visual basic editor and write some code there.

  • Go to the Developer tab from the Excel Ribbon.
  • Click the Visual Basic option.

  • In the Visual Basic For Applications window, click the Insert dropdown to select the New Module option.

Now put your code inside the visual code editor and press F5 to run it. The following code replaced the semicolons of the text file with commas by using the VBA Replace function.

Sub ImportTextFileDatatoExcel()
    Dim fileLocation As String, textData As String
    Dim rowNum As Long
    folderLocation = "D:\Exceldemy"
    Set fso = CreateObject("Scripting.FileSystemObject")
    Set folder = fso.GetFolder(folderLocation)
    rowNum = 1
    Close #1
    For Each textFile In folder.Files
        fileLocation = folder & "\" & textFile.Name
        Open fileLocation For Input As #1
        Do While Not EOF(1)
            Line Input #1, textData
            textData = Replace(textData, ";", ",")
            If InStr(textData, ",") = 0 Then
                Cells(rowNum, 1) = textData
            Else
                tArray = Split(textData, ",")
                nColumn = 1
                For Each element In tArray
                    Cells(rowNum, nColumn) = element
                    nColumn = nColumn + 1
                Next element
            End If
            rowNum = rowNum + 1
        Loop
        Close #1
    Next textFile
End Sub

In the above code, put your own folder location that holds the text file in the code. The following screenshot shows the file location for this illustration.

Import Text File with Multiple Delimiters into Excel

Imported Dataset

Import Text File with Multiple Delimiters into Excel

Read More: Convert Excel to Text File with Delimiter (2 Easy Approaches)


Notes

  • The VBA code we used can work with multiple text files in the destined folder efficiently.
  • If the specified delimiter doesn’t exist in the source string, the Split function will return the string as it is
  • If the compare argument of the Split function is omitted, the default value is vbBinaryCompare. 
  • The InStrRev function returns 0 if the substring doesn’t exist in the given string.

Conclusion

Now, we know how to import text file data into Excel with multiple delimiters in Excel with the help of suitable examples. Hopefully, it would help you to use the functionality more confidently. Any questions or suggestions don’t forget to put them in the comment box below.


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Al Arafat Siddique

Al Arafat Siddique

Hello! This is Arafat. Here I'm researching Microsoft Excel. I did my graduation from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology(BUET). My interest in data science and machine learning allured me to play with data and find solutions to real-life problems. I want to explore this data-driven world and make innovative solutions.

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