All articles with 'text processing' Tag

#awesome trick – Extract word by position using FILTERXML()

Published on Sep 12, 2019 in Excel Howtos, Learn Excel
#awesome trick – Extract word by position using FILTERXML()

This is CRAZY!!!. I stumbled on a weird use for FILTERXML() while reading a forum post earlier today. So I couldn’t wait to test it. I am happy to share the results.

Say you have some text (sentence / phrase / keyword etc.) in a cell and you want to extract the nth word. Unfortunately Excel doesn’t have SPLIT() formula. So we end up writing obscenely long array formulas or use gazillion helper columns.

Here is the super sneaky trick. Use FILTERXML() instead.

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A trick to Pivot text values

Published on Apr 30, 2018 in Pivot Tables & Charts, Power Query
A trick to Pivot text values

We all know that Pivot Tables are best thing since avocado on toast. But they can’t slice text values and spread them in a table with Pivots. So how to take a large blob of text and turn it in to something meaningful like above?

Simple, we use Power Query.

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Untrimmable Spaces – Excel Formula

Published on Jan 12, 2017 in Excel Howtos, Learn Excel
Untrimmable Spaces – Excel Formula

Let’s talk about the untrimmable spaces.

We all know that TRIM() removes extra spaces from the beginning, ending and middle of a text.

So for example, if A1 has ” something and    one   more    ”


will give “something and one more”

We can use CLEAN() function to remove non-printable characters (like the ASCII codes 0 to 31).  Of course, SPACE is technically a printable character, so CLEAN() won’t remove spaces.

The untrimmable spaces…?

The other day Sreekanth emailed me a sample of data and asked, “how do I remove the spaces in this list and convert them to numbers?”

Naturally I tried to TRIM().

But the data won’t budge. See above.

Hmm, let’s investigate why.

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PSA: Don’t let auto correct spoil your party

Published on Aug 26, 2016 in Learn Excel
PSA: Don’t let auto correct spoil your party

So here is a news from strange but true department. Microsoft Excel blamed for gene study errors [bbc.com].

Microsoft’s Excel has been blamed for errors in academic papers on genomics.
Researchers trying to raise awareness of the issue claim that the spreadsheet software automatically converts the names of certain genes into dates.
Gene symbols like SEPT2 (Septin 2) were found to be altered to “September 2”.

Aah, classic!

This is what happens when you spend countless hours learning genome sequencing and very little about the software tools where your data goes. May be we need clippy back to warn people about such sticky situations.

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Find out how many times a value is present in a cell [formulas]

Published on Jul 19, 2016 in Excel Howtos, Learn Excel
Find out how many times a value is present in a cell [formulas]

Here is an interesting problem to start your day.

Let’s say you work as DNA sequencing engineer at The Enterprise. And you just unlocked the sequence that is responsible for all male problems. The early onset of baldness. The sequence code is AAAA. And you want to find out how many times this sequence is found in a sample of DNA strings, in the range B6:B19. Essentially you want the above.

So how do you write the formula?

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Extract the 10 digit number [formula homework]

Published on May 6, 2016 in Excel Challenges

Okay, time for another challenge.

Imagine you have some data like this. Each cell contains 3 numbers separated by line break  – CHAR(10) and you need to extract the number that is 10 digits long.


Go ahead and solve this riddle.

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Can you extract numbers from text – homework

Published on Oct 30, 2015 in Excel Challenges, Learn Excel

Here is a quick homework to keep you busy this weekend.

Can you extract number of days from below text.

Nov15 PUTS (23 days)
March15 TIKS (3 days)
March1 TIKS (25 days)
June11 TIKS (10 days)

Assume the data is from cell A1.

Your solution should return the following:

Post your answers (formulas, VBA code or Power Query M code) in the comments.

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Save a range as text file using VBA [tutorial]

Published on Oct 28, 2015 in VBA Macros
Save a range as text file using VBA [tutorial]

Last night I asked members of our Chandoo.org facebook page to share an Excel problem you are struggling with.  Francis asked,

How to save a file as .txt in vba without quotes? When I save as .txt, the file has got quotes inside of it. I used the code Print, but it didnt work because the file loses its delimitation.
Does anyone know how to solve this?

Let’s understand how to save a range as text and overcome the double quote problem.

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Use NUMBERVALUE() to convert European Number format

Published on Oct 6, 2015 in Excel Howtos, Learn Excel

If you deal with customers or colleagues in Europe, often you may see numbers like this:

  • 1.433.502,50
  • 9.324,00
  • 3,141593

When these numbers are pasted in Excel, they become text, because Excel can’t understand them.

Here is a simple way to convert the European numbers to regular ones.

Use NUMBERVALUE() Function.

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Case Sensitive Lookups

Published on Sep 7, 2015 in Excel Howtos
Case Sensitive Lookups

We all know that VLOOKUP (and its cousins MATCH, HLOOKUP and LOOKUP) are great for finding information you want. But they are helpless when you want to do a case-sensitive lookup.

So how do we write case sensitive VLOOKUP formulas?

Simple. We can use EXACT formula.

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How to find out if a text contains question? [Excel formulas]

Published on Jul 17, 2015 in Excel Howtos, Learn Excel
How to find out if a text contains question? [Excel formulas]

On Wednesday (15th July), I ran my first ever webinar, on a topic called, “How to be a BETTER Analyst?” (here is the replay link, in case you missed it).  It was a huge success. More than 1,100 people attend the live webinar and hundreds more watched the replay. As part of the webinar, we had interactive Q&A. Viewers posted their questions and I replied to as many of them as I can.

After the webinar, I wanted to make sure I covered all the questions. So I downloaded the chat history. There were more than 700 messages in it. And I am not in the mood to read line by line to find-out the questions. A good portion of chat messages were not questions but stuff like ‘hello everyone, I am from Idaho’, ‘Wow, Chandoo has beard!”, “Enjoying a beer in Belgium while watching webinar” etc. So I wanted a quick way to flag the messages as question or not.

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Export iPhone contacts to Excel using this free template

Published on Dec 2, 2014 in Excel Howtos, Learn Excel, Templates
Export iPhone contacts to Excel using this free template

Recently my iPhone 4 crashed. It is 3.5 years old. And just like any other 3 year old, it started acting weird & crazy one night. The next morning it went silent. It won’t go beyond the Apple logo whenever I start it. Since I couldn’t wait for the phone to start, I took out the SIM card (the phone is unlocked, if you are wondering) and placed it in my old Nokia phone. But alas, none of my contacts are on the SIM. They are in “cloud”.

After a day of answering phone calls from everyone including my mom as “Chandoo here”, I’ve decided to get my contacts back. So I logged in to iCloud to download a backup. And the backup was a .VCF file.

Since I wanted to have all my contact numbers in a spreadsheet, I did what any Excel nerd would do. I built a template that can convert VCF data to Excel worksheet.

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Can you extract first name & last name from email address? [Formula Challenge]

Published on Feb 27, 2014 in Excel Challenges
Can you extract first name & last name from email address? [Formula Challenge]

Today lets rescue John Doe from John_doe@email.com.

Extract first & last name from email address

Given an email address in the format


You need to extract first name & last name using formulas.

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Quickly combine text in multiple cells using this trick! [Formulas]

Published on Jan 13, 2014 in Excel Howtos
Quickly combine text in multiple cells using this trick! [Formulas]

Ever wondered how to go from a bunch of cells with text to one big combined text? Like shown above.

Well, there is a simple trick. One of our readers, Grant shared this with us. Read on to learn this.

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Top 10 Formulas for Aspiring Analysts

Published on Jan 16, 2013 in Learn Excel
Top 10 Formulas for Aspiring Analysts

Few weeks ago, someone asked me “What are the top 10 formulas?” That got me thinking.

While each of us have our own list of favorite, most frequently used formulas, there is no standard list of top 10 formulas for everyone. So, today let me attempt that.

If you want to become a data or business analyst then you must develop good understanding of Excel formulas & become fluent in them.

A good analyst should be familiar with below 10 formulas to begin with.

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