Breaking Up Columns

Occasionally you may have a spreadsheet that has one column that needs to be split into two (or more) columns. Some examples of columns that may need to be broken up include columns of students' full names or email columns with multiple email addresses listed in them.

For this example, we'll use a spreadsheet that contains a column of student full names (instead of separate columns for both first and last names):

To turn the full name column into two separate columns, you'll want to use Excel's Text to Columns feature. The first thing you'll want to do is create some blank space immediately after the column you'll be changing. In this case we'll add one blank column which will end up containing the person's last name:

Once the column(s) are in place, highlight the column that you want to break up and click on the Data tab at the top. Select the Text to Columns option

Choosing the Delimited option allows you to break up a column according to the characters in your spreadsheet. You can tell Excel to create a column break every time it sees a specific character. In this example, we've selected the Space option: 

Clicking Finish will separate the original column into two columns. In this case, every time a space would have appeared a new column was created.

We now have our students' first and last names in separate columns, and can use them appropriately in our spreadsheet.