Microsoft Excel: How to Automate Text File Links

By David Ringstrom, CPA
Some time ago, I explained how to use Excel's Text to Columns Wizard for separating text within a spreadsheet into columns. Although this approach is helpful for data that's in a spreadsheet, in other cases, you may wish to link spreadsheets to text files that change periodically. In this article, I'll walk you through the steps of automating this process.
A common method of accessing text files is by way of the Open dialog box. As shown in Figure 1, you can choose from a variety of file types, including text files. Depending on the file type, Excel may automatically separate the data into columns, as shown in Figure 2, or leave all the data in a single column, as shown in Figure 3. Data, such as that shown in Figure 3, can then be separated into columns manually by way of the Text to Columns Wizard.
Figure 1: You can choose from various file types in the Open dialog box.
Figure 2: Excel automatically separated the data into columns.
Figure 3: Excel left all the data in a single column.


You may like these other stories...

There's thunder and lightning in the cloud these days. And the rumbling is all about security. Could peer-to-peer file transfers be the answer? As the old accounting adage goes, there's more than one way to skin a...
Saving Excel spreadsheets as PDF files has gotten incrementally easier over the years, but can still require more effort than necessary. When saving a document as a PDF, many users go through several mouse clicks on the File...
Imagine being able to file a business expense, such as a cab ride or a meal with a new client, in real time from an app on your smartphone. Here’s the best part: Imagine being reimbursed for that expense in 24 to 48...

Already a member? log in here.

Upcoming CPE Webinars

Nov 5Join CPA thought leader and peer reviewer Rob Cameron and learn ways to improve the outcome of your peer reviews while maximizing the value of your engagement workflow.
Nov 18In this session Excel expert David Ringstrom, CPA tackles what to do when bad things happen to good spreadsheets.
Nov 19How do you minimize redundant work and unnecessary steps to maximize the amount of work moving through your firm?
Nov 20Kristen Rampe will share how to uncover new opportunities with your clients by asking powerful questions.