Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Chapter 5: Manipulating
In This Chapter
• How Excel handles text entered into cells
• Excel worksheet functions that handle text
• Examples of advanced text formulas
Excel, of course, is best known for its ability to crunch numbers. However, it is also quite versatile when it comes
to handling text. As you know, Excel enables you to enter text for items such as row and column headings, cus-
tomer names and addresses, part numbers, and just about anything else. And, as you might expect, you can use
formulas to manipulate the text contained in cells.
This chapter contains many examples of formulas that use functions to manipulate text. Some of these formulas
perform feats that you may not have thought possible.
A Few Words about Text
When you type data into a cell, Excel immediately goes to work and determines whether you're entering a for-
mula, a number (including a date or time), or anything else. Anything else is considered text.
You may hear the term string used instead of text. You can use these terms interchange-
ably. Sometimes, they even appear together, as in text string.
How many characters in a cell?
A single cell can hold up to 32,000 characters. To put things into perspective, this chapter contains about 30,000
characters. I certainly don't recommend using a cell in lieu of a word processor, but you really don't have to lose
much sleep worrying about filling up a cell with text.
Numbers as text
As I mentioned, Excel distinguishes between numbers and text. In some cases, you don't need a number to be nu-
merical — for example, part numbers or credit card numbers. If you want to “force” a number to be considered as
text, you can do one of the following:
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