Extract Numbers from Text using Excel VBA [Video]

Posted on June 26th, 2012 in Excel Howtos , VBA Macros - 23 comments

Last week we discussed how to extract numbers from text in Excel using formulas. In comments, quite a few people suggested that using VBA (Macros) to extract numbers would be simpler.

So today, lets learn how to write a VBA Function to extract numbers from any text.

Extract numbers from text using Excel VBA

Using VBA Function to Extract Numbers from Text in Excel

When using VBA to scan a text for number, the basic approach is like this:

  1. Read each character in a given text
  2. See if it is number
    1. If so, extract it
  3. Continue with next character
  4. Convert the extracted characters to a number
  5. Return that number

While this works fine, it also has some limitations.

For example, with above approach, A text value like “US $313,00.00”  will be extracted as 3,130,000 not as 31,300.00

Depending on your data, you may have many such peculiarities. For example, here are 4 situations I ran in to:

Extracting numbers from text using VBA - various situations

Handling decimal points & thousand separators during extraction

When it comes to decimal points & thousand separators there are 2 conventions:

  1. 61,000.30 (Regular)
  2. 61.000,30 (European)

We do not need special treatment for regular format (61,000.30) as Excel & VBA are capable of dealing with these numbers by default.

To check if a text has European format number, we have to see if . occurs before ,

(Note: this method is not fool-proof, but should work well for most situations)

This can be done by using LIKE statement,

if text like "*.*,*" then
european = true
else
european = false
end if

Writing our getNumber() VBA Function

Once we put all these ideas together, we will have our getNumber() function. Watch below video to understand how to extract numbers from text using Excel VBA.

[Watch this video on our Youtube channel]

Download Number Extraction VBA Function

Click here to download the Extract Numbers using VBA workbook.

View code module to understand how getNumber function works.

Do you use VBA to extract numbers?

I often use VBA to clean raw data. Earlier I mentioned about cleaning phone numbers & spelling mistakes. I think simple functions like getNumber() can save us tons of time & let us focus on the important task – analyzing data.

What about you? Do you use VBA to clean data? What techniques & ideas you rely on? Please share your thoughts using comments.

New to Excel VBA? Take our crash course

Are you new to Excel VBA? If so, go thru below links to take our FREE VBA Crash course.

  1. What is VBA & Writing your First VBA Macro in Excel
  2. Understanding Variables, Conditions & Loops in VBA
  3. Using Cells, Ranges & Other Objects in your Macros
  4. Putting it all together – Your First VBA Application using Excel
  5. My Top 10 Tips for Mastering VBA & Excel Macros

If you want more,

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Written by Chandoo
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23 Responses to “Extract Numbers from Text using Excel VBA [Video]”

  1. ScottW says:

    Interesting that you are posting this at the same time as Doug http://yoursumbuddy.com/regex-function-sum-numbers-string/

    • Luke M says:

      Looks like two different articles about two different subjects, extracting numbers in text vs. summing all the numbers in text. Also, articles are published 20 days apart. Is the interesting part that there were two articles written about Visual Basic techniques within this month?

      • Luke M says:

        Sorry, that should have said 1 day, not 20. Was looking at the wrong thing. I still think it's just a nice coincidences to have multiple articles about VB written. Dick Kusleika also routinely writes about VB at dailydoseofexcel.com

    • Chandoo says:

      What a lucky coincidence. I know about Doug's blog, but havent had a chance to read it in a while. Thanks for sharing the link.

  2. Don Hopkins says:

    I think that the best lesson that can come from the several salary survey solutions is that one should have anticipated the variety of monetary units.  If the survey utilized drop down currency lists and limited the salary field to whole numbers only, etc. the resulting input would have been far cleaner. Sorry, Chandoo, but the messy input was, in my opinion, self-inflicted.

    • Chandoo says:

      You are right. Since there are more than 200 different currencies, I thought a currency field would complicate the survey. The bigger problem was, Google Docs (which I used for survey) does not have an option to capture only numbers. Input fields were by text, so people entered in lots of different formats.

      But I am happy how it turned out. It taught me several lessons on how to clean data.

      Next time I will use a better tool to capture such responses.

  3. Crisu says:

    Your post made me check how the "regular" and "irregular" decimal separators look like in different countries and it appears to be really interesting case. Take a look:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decimal_mark
    Cheers.
     

  4. I am pretty sure you can replace this code block from your article...

    If Text Like "*.*,*" Then
      european = True
    Else
      european = False
    End If

    with this single line of code...
     
    european = Format$(0, ".") = ","
     

    • Just to follow up on my previous post, I think I may have misunderstood the intent of your code. You were not looking to see if the computer system was using a dot for the decimal point, rather, you were looking to see if the Text was using a dot as the decimal point, weren't you? If so, then you could use this single line of code as to replace your If..Then..Else block...

      european = Text Like "*.*,*"

      But what if the number in Text was not large enough to display a thousands separator? Or what if it were a whole number? In either of those cases your original test, and my replacement for it, will fail. Maybe this would be a better test...

      european = Right(Format$(Text, "."), 1) = "," 

      • Chandoo says:

        You are right. I am checking if the text has European format. And I loved your one line shortcut. I did not think of using LIKE in such context. Thanks for sharing that.

         

        Again, you are right that this method would fail if the number is not big enough for a thousands separator. Since my data has annual salaries, all numbers are usually in thousands. So I did not think about it.

      • Yam says:

        Hi ,

        I have a question please. I'm working on a report that has alphanumeric on it and I only need to retrieve 7 integers that starts with 7 and 3 example SCM RIS PX RIS 02 - 7152349, ADSF\243434134, CM532345 and i need to get the 7152349. Can you please help me on this? I truly appreciate your help!
        Thank you very much!

  5. Tayyab Hussain says:

    Hi-

    The post was wonderful. Please take a look at this function also

    Function ExtractNumber(InputString As String) As String
    'Function evaluates an input string character by character
    ' and returns numeric only characters
    'Declare counter variable
    Dim i As Integer
    'Reset input variable
    ExtractNumber = ""
    'Begin iteration; repeat for the length of the input string
    For i = 1 To Len(InputString)
    'Test current character for number
    If IsNumeric(Mid(InputString, i, 1)) Then
    'If number is found, add it to the output string
    ExtractNumber = ExtractNumber & Mid(InputString, i, 1)
    End If
    Next i
    End Function

  6. hpchavaz says:

    To be more international.

    At the beginning, for the rench format :

    If fromThis.Value Like "*.*,*" Or fromThis.Value Like "* *,*" Then

        european = True
    End If

    And at the end :

    ElseIf ltr = "," And european And Len(retVal) > 0 Then
        retVal = retVal & Application.DecimalSeparator
    End If
     

  7. Kris says:

    Hi Chandoo,
    Sorry, but your code does not work correctly with my Hungarian excel. My decimal separator is "," so
    getNumber = CDbl(retVal)
    will not convert the string to value, because you hard-coded "." as separator.
    And, as you mentioned: "method would fail if the number is not big enough for a thousands separator" I would like to add: would fail if the user did not enter the thousand separator and also would fail if the thousand separator is not "," nor "." but " " (space chr) - as in Hungary.
    This two functions could help to determine the system settings:
    application.DecimalSeparator
    application.ThousandsSeparator
     
    Conclusion:
    you say: "We do not need special treatment for regular format (61,000.30) as Excel & VBA are capable of dealing with these numbers by default." - it is true in case you system uses the regular format. 🙂
     
    Cheers,
    Kris

  8. Deependra says:

    Awesome! It works !!
    But how does one take into account negative numbers (say the list has negative numbers and I want to retain those negative numbers)
     
    Thanks.

  9. Akmal says:

    Hi. When I download this example, my excel is not showing formulas exactly. I wanted a ready version of this example, please. Thank you

  10. Kenny says:

    Hi Chandoo,

    Thanks for this brilliant article like many others that you have written for the benefit of many. Unfortunately, I am constantly having problems downloading your sample workbooks. I am currently using Excel 2007, and each time I try to download any of your sample workbooks, for e.g. the 'Extract Numbers Using VBA workbook', I get the following message 'This file is not in a recognizable format'.

    I always get this message each time I try to download any of your sample workbooks. Please kindly advise me on how to resolve this.

    Thank you.

    Kenny

  11. Madhav says:

    I have numbers like 12345-12-1 which I want to extract from text strings. 12345 might be variable there as 123, 1234, 12345, 123456,1234567 or so. When I get that in other cell (Column) I should see multiple entries of similar numbers with - (hyphen). How to do that?

  12. Madhav says:

    Thanks Hui for your response. Thank you for your time to find potential solution for my problem.

    I tried your formula but was not successful in using the same.

    here is more clarification so that you/others could help me.

    Column A has following in Cells A1 to A4.. could be long..
    ABCD 12345-12-1 XYZ 9878-02-9
    LMNOPQ 12345-12-1 STQ 789748-98-5
    NFHFKDJFKDS 123-23-1, NDKANSD
    A FDSAFNDS 12345-12-1, ASNDSAND

    from such data I need to extract the number with hyphens
    remove , immediately after the numbers, separate the numbers with spaces

    Column B shall look like:
    12345-12-1 9878-02-9
    12345-12-1 789748-98-5
    123-23-1
    2345-12-1

    2 separate strings (numbers) having hyphen (-) therein should be separated with space.

  13. Thomas Huettemann says:

    Why not just use the function =getNumber ?

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