Split Text Hero

Often, you need to split the content of a cell in your spreadsheet that is separated by a comma or space, such as the first and last names of a contact. Luckily, Google Sheets provides a simple, straightforward approach to dealing with merged datasets.

How to Split Text in Google Sheets

Fire up your browser, open up a Google Sheets document, and select all the cells you want to split up.

Select the cells you want to Split

Warning: Make sure the cells to the right don’t already have data in them. This feature overwrites those cells without any warning.

Next, click Data > Split Text Into Columns.

Sheets has a few common options to choose from when you split up data in your document, such as by comma, semicolon, full stop, and space. For this example, we’ll use “Space” as a separator, since there is a space between our datasets.

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Click the drop-down menu, then choose “Space” from the list of delimiter options.

Immediately, the data is separated and placed into the column beside the original.

Immediately, Sheets separates the data into the cells on the right

If your data separates by something other than the options provided, don’t worry. You can use the “Custom” option to specify any character you want.

When selecting a separator from the drop-down menu, choose “Custom” instead.

Select Custom from the drop-down menu if your data is separated by an uncommon character

Then, in the provided text field, input the character(s)* you want to separate by in your datasets.

Type in the character and Sheets automatically filters it out

*One caveat to this method is the inability to separate data if it contains two different characters. For that, you will need to use Sheet’s built-in SPLIT function, which we’ll cover down below.

Voila! The custom separator removed all instances of “@” in your cells.

Even special characters not listed can be removed from your data as well.

How to Split Text Using the Split Function

While the previous feature only lets you specify an exact delimiter to separate, the SPLIT function lets you specify any number of them for a dataset. For example, let’s say your data is an email address and you want to extract the username, sub-domain, and top-level domain into three columns.

Select an empty cell, type =SPLIT(G14, "@."), where “G14” is the starting cell. Hit Enter.

Click an empty cell and type in =SPLIT(cell_with_data, "@.") and hit enter

By default, each character of the delimiter in quotes is individually considered, unlike the previous method, which would look for “@.” in the string and return an unchanged dataset.

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Next, double-click the blue square to apply this function to the remaining cells.

The function does its magic and neatly removes the separators from your data.

Voila! Like magic, the email addresses are separated

That’s all there is to it. Now you can utilize the splitting power of Google Sheets to separate your data into different cells in your spreadsheet.

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Brady Gavin has been immersed in technology for 15 years and has written over 150 detailed tutorials and explainers. He's covered everything from Windows 10 registry hacks to Chrome browser tips. Brady has a diploma in Computer Science from Camosun College in Victoria, BC.  
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