Continuing on with our “What’s inside Excel Everest?” series, which showcases the introductory, “why is this important?” paragraphs found within Excel Everest.
…why is it important to learn?..
Text to columns and find & replace
The Text to Columns and Find and Replace functions in Excel are essential for cleaning data; ie, reformatting it, getting rid of errors, and/or extracting only the information you want. If you find yourself in a situation where you have, for example, first and last name in one column but you want two columns, one with first name and one with last, you’d use text to columns to accomplish this.
Find and Replace is also great for data cleaning. This function is relatively straight forward, except Excel gives advanced options like searching for specific cell formats, matching the case that you’re looking for, and matching entire cell contents. We’ll go into how to use these in the exercises.
Also critical is that similar to sorting, you can make some serious blunders with text to columns and find and replace. If you make a mistake and don’t realize it, your whole dataset can
be ruined. Every time you perform text to columns or find and replace, it is important to be doubly careful and make sure your options are set correctly.