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3 Easiest Ways to Separate First and Last Name in Google Sheets (Step-by-Step)

December 7, 2023 3.4K views

Are you struggling with organizing names in Google Sheets? Fear not! In this guide, we'll explore three straightforward methods to separate first and last names. Along the way, I'll share some tips and personal insights to make your data management smoother.

Method 1: Separate First and Last Name Using “Split Text to Columns” Feature

In Google Sheets, the "Split Text to Columns" feature is a convenient way to separate first and last names in a column. Follow these step-by-step instructions along with accompanying screenshots for a seamless experience.

Step 1: Open Your Google Sheet

Begin by opening the Google Sheet containing the column with full names that you want to split.

Step 2: Select the Column

Click on the header of the column containing the full names to highlight the entire column.

Step 3: Navigate to the "Data" Tab

In the menu bar, locate and click on the "Data" tab at the top of the Google Sheets interface.

Step 4: Choose "Split Text to Columns"

From the "Data" drop-down menu, hover over "Split text to columns." A sub-menu will appear. Choose the appropriate delimiter, such as space or comma, based on how the names are formatted.

Step 5: Confirm the Split

Google Sheets will preview the split based on the chosen delimiter. Ensure it accurately reflects the separation you desire. Click "Finish" to confirm.

Step 6: Verify the Result

Check the column to confirm that the first and last names are now in separate columns. The "Split Text to Columns" feature will automatically organize the data.

Congratulations! You have successfully separated first and last names using the "Split Text to Columns" feature in Google Sheets. This method provides a quick and straightforward way to organize your data without the need for complex formulas.

Method 2: Separate First and Last Name Using an Add-On

Utilizing an Add-On in Google Sheets provides an additional layer of functionality for separating first and last names. Follow this step-by-step guide, accompanied by screenshots, to streamline the process.

Step 1: Open Your Google Sheet

Start by opening the Google Sheet containing the column with full names that you want to split.

Step 2: Navigate to "Add-ons"

In the menu bar, locate and click on "Add-ons." A drop-down menu will appear.

Step 3: Choose "Get add-ons..."

From the drop-down menu, select "Get add-ons..." to access the Google Workspace Marketplace.

Step 4: Search for the "Split Names" Add-On

In the Google Workspace Marketplace, use the search bar to look for the "Split Names" Add-On. Once found, click on it to proceed.

Step 5: Install the Add-On

Click on the "Install" button to add the "Split Names" Add-On to your Google Sheets. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the installation.

Step 6: Open the "Split Names" Add-On

After installation, go back to your Google Sheet, and in the "Add-ons" menu, locate the newly installed "Split Names" Add-On. Click on it to open.

Step 7: Configure and Execute the Add-On

The "Split Names" Add-On will present options for configuration. Follow the prompts to specify your preferences, such as choosing the delimiter. Execute the Add-On to split the names.

Step 8: Verify the Result

Check the column to confirm that the first and last names are now in separate columns. The Add-On will have efficiently organized the data.

Method 3: Using the SPLIT Function to Separate First and Last Name

The SPLIT function in Google Sheets allows for a more controlled and formulaic approach to separating first and last names. Follow this step-by-step guide, complete with screenshots, to efficiently organize your data.

Step 1: Open Your Google Sheet

Begin by opening the Google Sheet containing the column with full names that you want to split.

Step 2: Identify the Cell with the Full Name

Select the cell containing the full name that you want to separate.

Step 3: Enter the SPLIT Formula

In the formula bar, enter the following formula: =SPLIT(cell, " "). Replace "cell" with the reference to the cell containing the full name. Press Enter.

Step 4: Verify the Result

Check the adjacent cells to confirm that the first and last names are now in separate columns. The SPLIT function will have dynamically organized the data.

Comparison of the Three Methods

Method

Advantages

Disadvantages

Split Text to Columns

Easy to use, handles large datasets efficiently

Limited options for handling complex name formats

Split Names Add-on

User-friendly interface, additional options for handling complex name formats

Requires installation of an add-on

SPLIT Function

Flexible for use within formulas and data manipulation, handles complex name formats with additional functions

Requires more technical knowledge and formula writin

Recommendations Based on User Needs

User Needs

Recommended Method

Simple separation of full names into first and last names

Split Text to Columns

Handling complex name formats with additional options

Split Names Add-on

Integration with formulas and data manipulation processes

SPLIT Function

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FAQs

How do I extract a first name from Google Sheets?

To extract the first name from a full name in Google Sheets:

=IFERROR(LEFT(A1, SEARCH(" ", A1) - 1), A1)

Drag the formula down to apply to the entire column.

How do I combine first and last name in Google Sheets?

To combine first and last names from separate columns:

=A1 & " " & B1

Drag the formula down to fill the entire column.

Can I automate the name separation process?

Yes, you can automate the name separation process using scripts or formulas.

Here are the three methods that you can use to automate the name separation process:

  • Split Text to Columns: This is a built-in feature in Excel and Google Sheets. To use this feature, select the column containing the full names, and then click on the Data tab. In the Data Tools group, click on Split Text to Columns. In the Split Text to Columns dialog box, select Space as the delimiter, and then click on OK.

  • Split Names Add-on: This is a free add-on for Google Sheets. To use this add-on, click on the Add-ons tab, and then search for "Split Names". Click on the + Free button to install the add-on. Once the add-on is installed, click on the Add-ons tab again, and then select Split Names. In the Split Names dialog box, select the column containing the full names, and then click on Split.

  • SPLIT Function: This is a formula that can be used in Excel and Google Sheets. To use this formula, type the following into a cell.

Summary

In this comprehensive guide, we explored three methods to separate first and last names in Google Sheets. Whether you prefer the simplicity of "Split Text to Columns," the added features of an Add-On, or the precision of the SPLIT function, you now have the tools to efficiently organize your data. Don't forget to explore the powerful features of WPS Spreadsheet, a free alternative to Google Sheets, and enhance your document management with WPS AI. Happy spreadsheet organizing!

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