Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365. If you are using an earlier version (Word 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Word, click here: Formatting an ASCII Table with Spaces.

Formatting an ASCII Table with Spaces

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated April 29, 2022)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365


1

It is not uncommon in many word processors to format tables with spaces. Enough spaces are inserted between each column to align the first letter of each column. Word, however, includes a table editor, which provides more flexibility in formatting and working with tables. Converting ASCII tables originally formatted with spaces to Word tables can be time consuming. The following VBA macro will do the formatting automatically. It assumes that each line represents a different row in the table, and that anything beyond a single space represents a division between columns.

Sub SpacesToTable
    With Selection.Find
        .ClearFormatting
        .Replacement.ClearFormatting
        .Text = " {2,}"
        .Replacement.Text = "^t"
        .Forward = True
        .Wrap = wdFindStop
        .Format = False
        .MatchCase = False
        .MatchWholeWord = False
        .MatchAllWordForms = False
        .MatchSoundsLike = False
        .MatchWildcards = True
    End With
    Selection.Find.Execute Replace:=wdReplaceAll
    Selection.ConvertToTable _
      Separator:=wdSeparateByTabs, _
      Format:=wdTableFormatNone
End Sub

Before running the macro, select the text you want to convert. When you run this macro, you will get the same thing you would get if you clicked the Table tool (Insert tab of the ribbon) and selected Convert Text to Table. This means your columns might look funky; they will definitely need to be resized. But the hard work of getting rid of all the spaces has been done for you.

Note:

If you would like to know how to use the macros described on this page (or on any other page on the WordTips sites), I've prepared a special page that includes helpful information. Click here to open that special page in a new browser tab.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (12214) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Formatting an ASCII Table with Spaces.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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Comments

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What is six less than 9?

2022-05-04 12:43:25

James

This is a tip I have needed, for I often copy columnar tables from webpages and paste them into Word. But then the struggle begins to clean them up!

What would be useful Allen is How To cut 'n paste your macro above into the macro editor, instead of laboriously typing it in. I tried cut 'n paste and it created a macro that pasted in the VBA text, instead of running it.

I found a youtube video that demonstrates this, but with little explanatory comment.

I love your travel videos. Quality work.

Have you considered also a Word Tips channel on youtube?


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