Microsoft Excel: How to Automate Text File Links
by David Ringstrom on
However, many users don't realize there's an alternate way to access text files that can minimize steps, and perhaps even automate integrating text file-based data into your spreadsheets. To do so:
- Excel 2007 and later: Choose From Text in the Get External Data section of the Data tab.
- Excel 2003 and earlier: Choose Data, Import External Data, and then Import Data.
At this point, in any version of Excel, you'll be presented with a variation of the Open dialog box:
- Excel 2007 and later: The dialog box is labeled Import Text Files.
- In Excel 2003 and earlier: The dialog box is labeled Select Data Source.
Regardless of your Excel version, browse to your text file and then click the Import button. A new dialog box labeled Text Import Wizard will appear. This wizard is identical to the Text to Columns Wizard, but I'll walk through the steps for anyone unfamiliar with either:
On the first screen of the wizard, you signify whether your text file is delimited for fixed width:
- Delimited: Signifies there's a separator between each field, such as a tab, comma, space, semi-colon, or perhaps the | character, which is referred to as the pipe symbol.
- Fixed width: Signifies that each field is allocated a specific number of characters, meaning the data lines up evenly in columns.
As shown in Figure 4, a data preview window shows you the first few rows of the text file as an aid in determining the file type. Once you choose delimited or fixed width, click Next to proceed to the next step in the wizard.
Figure 4: Excel provides a data preview window where you can view the first few rows of your text file.
You may like these other stories...
In the old days, we used to tape down receipts from our travels and submit them to accounts payable. But that was before remote employees who may live in a different city from the home office. And of course, there's all...
In 2011, electrical services and technology provider Parsons Electric in Minneapolis, Minn., decided to take its accounting to the cloud. Monica Ross, the company's director of strategic projects, talked with AWEB about...
Event Date: July 24, 2014, 2 pm ET In this presentation Excel expert David Ringstrom, CPA revisits the Excel feature you should be using, but probably aren't. The Table feature offers the ability to both boost the...
Upcoming CPE Webinars
Hand off work to others with finesse and success. Kristen Rampe, CPA will share how to ensure delegated work is properly handled from start to finish in this content-rich one hour webinar.
FRF for SMEs Series--Statement of Cash Flows, Subsequent Events, Related Party Issues, Accounting for Investments including Consolidations, Part 4A
This webcast will cover the preparation of the statement of cash flows and focus on accounting and disclosure policies for other important issues described below.
We can’t deny a great divide exists between the expectations and workplace needs of Baby Boomers and Millennials. To create thriving organizational performance, we need to shift the way in which we groom future leaders.
In this presentation Excel expert David Ringstrom, CPA revisits the Excel feature you should be using, but probably aren't. The Table feature offers the ability to both boost the integrity of your spreadsheets, but reduce maintenance as well.