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How to Split First and Last Name in Excel

July 22, 2022
16.0K Views

Unleash Excel's potential may be unleashed by mastering name separation. Resolve the typical problem of separating first and last names. With our step-by-step instructions, you'll be able to easily navigate the hurdle. Unlock priceless solutions for successful data management. Join us on our quest to solve the mystery.

1. Using columns

Steps

To separate first and last names in Excel, you can follow these steps:

Step 1: Choose the cell or column that contains the text you wish to divide.

Select the column


Step 2: Go to the "Data" tab and click on "Text to Columns."

Select text to columns


Step 3: In the "Convert Text to Columns Wizard," choose "Delimited" and click "Next."

Choose Delimited


Step 4:  Choose your data delimiters, such as comma and space. In the "Data preview" panel, you may see a glimpse of your data.

preview your data


Step 5: Select "Next."

Click next


Step 6:  Select the worksheet destination where you wish the divided data to appear.

Step 7: Select "Finish."

Click finish

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Pros

  • Simplicity: The method of using separate columns is relatively straightforward and easy to understand.

  • Flexibility: You can customize and manipulate the data in each column independently, allowing for further analysis or processing.

  • Data Integrity: Separating names into different columns helps maintain the integrity of the original data, as the full name remains intact in one column while the first and last names are extracted into separate columns.

Cons

  • Extra Columns: Splitting names into separate columns increases the number of columns in your spreadsheet, potentially leading to a wider data range and more complex data organization.

  • Dependency: The separate columns method assumes that the full names are consistently formatted and do not contain any irregularities or variations. If the names have different formats or unexpected patterns, the extraction process might not work accurately.

  • Maintenance: If the original data is updated or modified, the separated first and last name columns need to be adjusted accordingly to reflect the changes, which can require additional effort and manual updates.

While using separate columns to separate first and last names in Excel provides simplicity and flexibility, it may introduce some challenges related to data organization, formatting consistency, and maintenance.

2. Using formulas

Steps

Step 1: In a blank cell (e.g., B2), enter the formula "=LEFT(A2, FIND(" ", A2, 1) - 1)" to extract the first name.

Enter the formula on B2



Step 2: In another blank cell (e.g., C2), enter the formula "=RIGHT(A2, LEN(A2) - FIND(" ", A2, 1))" to extract the last name.

Enter the formula on B2



Step 3: Copy these formulas down the respective columns, and you will see the full name column split into first and last name columns.

Copy the formula


Pros

  • Flexibility: Formulas provide more flexibility in handling different name formats and variations.

  • Accuracy: Formulas can accurately extract first and last names even if the original data has irregularities or variations.

  • Dynamic Updates: If the original data is modified, the formulas automatically update the separated first and last names, ensuring data integrity.

Cons

  • Complexity: Using formulas requires a certain level of understanding and familiarity with Excel functions, which may be more challenging for inexperienced users.

  • Time-consuming: Depending on the complexity of the formulas, setting up and adjusting them can be time-consuming, especially for large datasets.

  • Potential Errors: Incorrectly setting up or modifying the formulas can lead to errors in extracting the first and last names, requiring troubleshooting and rework.

Overall, using formulas for separating first and last names in Excel offers flexibility, accuracy, and dynamic updates, but it may involve complexity, time consumption, and a higher risk of errors compared to other methods.

3. Using Flashfill

Steps

Step 1: Insert a new column next to the column containing the original names.

insert a new columns


Step 2: In the first cell of the new column, type the name part you want to extract (e.g., the first name in this example).

Typing the first name



Start typing the first name in the second cell of the new column.

Excel will automatically detect the pattern and populate the remaining cells in the column with the corresponding first names.

Step 3: Press Enter to complete the process.

Press Enter


Pros

  • Time-saving: Flash Fill automatically detects patterns and fills in the separated first and last names, eliminating the need for manual formulas or repetitive tasks.

  • Ease of use: Flash Fill is a user-friendly feature that requires minimal setup or knowledge of complex formulas. Simply demonstrate the desired pattern, and Excel takes care of the rest.

  • Flexibility: Flash Fill can handle variations in name formats and adapt to different patterns, making it suitable for separating first and last names with middle names, initials, or different punctuation.

Cons

  • Dependency on consistent patterns: Flash Fill relies on consistent patterns and may not work as intended if there are significant variations or irregularities in the data.

  • Limited control: While Flash Fill is efficient for simple name separations, it may not provide the same level of customization and control as manual formulas, especially for complex data transformations.

  • Data sensitivity: Flash Fill's automated pattern detection may introduce errors if there are unexpected or ambiguous patterns in the data, requiring manual corrections.

Flash Fill in Excel provides time-saving advantages, user-friendliness, and flexibility when separating first and last names. However, it is crucial to maintain consistent patterns and be cautious when handling sensitive data or complex transformations.

4. Best Alternative to Microsoft Office - WPS Office

When it comes to finding the best alternative to Microsoft Office, WPS Office emerges as a top contender. Offering a comprehensive suite of applications, including WPS Office Writer, Spreadsheet, and Presentation, it provides a robust and user-friendly experience. For users facing challenges with separating first and last names in Excel, WPS Office's Spreadsheet application offers efficient solutions. With its intuitive interface and powerful features, WPS Office is highly recommended for effectively handling data management tasks and overcoming the complexities of separating first and last names in Excel.

Spilt first and last names in Excel using Columns function

Step 1: Open your WPS Spreadsheets document that contains the names you want to split.> Select the column containing the names that you want to separate.

Select the column



Step 2: Go to the "Data" tab in the top menu>Click on the "Text to Columns" option. 

Go to Data tab



In the "Text to Columns" dialog box, choose the appropriate delimiter that separates the first and last names (e.g., space, comma, or custom delimiter).

choose the appproriate delimiter



Step 3: Select the destination cells or columns where you want to place the separated first and last names.

Choose the destination



Step 4: Click on the "Finish" button to split the names into separate columns

Click finish



Spilt first and last names in Excel using Formulas

To split names into separate columns in WPS, follow these steps:

Step 1: Enter the formula "=LEFT(A2, FIND(" ", A2, 1) - 1)" in a blank cell (e.g., B2) to extract the first name.

Enter the formula




Step 2: Enter the formula "=RIGHT(A2, LEN(A2) - FIND(" ", A2, 1))" in another blank cell (e.g., C2) to extract the last name.

Enter formula



Step 3: Copy these formulas down their respective columns, and you will observe the full name column splitting into separate first and last name columns.

Copy these formula down



By utilizing these formulas, you can efficiently extract the first and last names from the original names column in WPS Spreadsheets, allowing for better organization and analysis of your data.

Spilt first and last names in Excel using Flashfill

Step 1: Insert a new column next to the column containing the original names.

Insert new collum



Step 2: In the first cell of the new column, type the name part you want to extract (e.g., the first name in this example).

Type Jessica



Step 3: Click the cell under Jessica> Go to Data> Select Flash Fill

Select Flash Fill


By following these steps, WPS Spreadsheets will automatically detect the pattern based on your input and populate the remaining cells in the column with the corresponding names. This feature saves you time and effort by efficiently separating the names into separate columns.

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FAQs

  • How do I handle middle names or initials?

Use the Text to Columns feature with space as the delimiter and select the destination for the middle name column.

Use a formula to extract the middle name or initial from the full name, such as =MID(cell, SEARCH(" “, cell) + 1, SEARCH(” “, cell, SEARCH(” “, cell) + 1) - SEARCH(” ", cell) - 1).

Use the Split Names tool from Ablebits Ultimate Suite for Excel, which can separate names in various formats to first, last and middle name, salutations and suffixes..

  • Can I split names with multiple spaces or punctuation?

If names have multiple spaces or punctuation, the formulas mentioned earlier may not work as expected. In such cases, you can utilize more advanced formulas, such as using the SUBSTITUTE function to replace additional spaces or punctuation with a single space before applying the splitting formulas.

  • What if I have a list of names in a single cell?

If you have a list of names in a single cell separated by commas, semicolons, or any other delimiter, you can use the Text to Columns feature in Excel to split the names into separate columns based on the chosen delimiter. This can be found under the Data tab, where you select "Text to Columns" and choose the appropriate delimiter for splitting the names.

Summary

Undoubtedly, WPS Office stands out as a leading alternative to Microsoft Office. With its wide range of applications like WPS Office Writer, Spreadsheet, and Presentation, it delivers a reliable and user-friendly experience.

Specifically, for users grappling with the task of separating first and last names in Excel, WPS Office's Spreadsheet application provides effective solutions. Its intuitive interface and robust features make WPS Office a highly recommended choice for efficiently managing data and effortlessly tackling the challenges of splitting first and last names in Excel.



15 years of office industry experience, tech lover and copywriter. Follow me for product reviews, comparisons, and recommendations for new apps and software.