114

I have the task of creating a simple Excel sheet that takes an unspecified number of rows in Column A like this:

1234
123461
123151
11321

And make them into a comma-separated list in another cell that the user can easily copy and paste into another program like so:

1234,123461,123151,11321

What is the easiest way to do this?

  • 8
    Part of the solution might be Edit, Paste Special, Transpose to convert the column into a row. If the other program accepts Tabs rather than commas, then you're all set after copying the new row. – Arjan Feb 3 '11 at 12:00
  • How do you do the opposite of this? Take a comma-separated list and convert it to a column of content? – stevvve Oct 22 '14 at 17:10
  • 1
    @stevvve use Text to Columns feature in the data tab. support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/214261 – Trevor Sep 24 '15 at 17:42
  • I use any regular expression capable text editor for this, like notepad++. Copy column values and paste it in the editor, search and replace regular expression, find "\r\n" replace with ",". If you want to convert CSV to column, find "," and replace with "\r\n" – junaling Jul 20 '17 at 20:27

13 Answers 13

136

Assuming your data starts in A1 I would put the following in column B:

B1:

=A1

B2:

=B1&","&A2

You can then paste column B2 down the whole column. The last cell in column B should now be a comma separated list of column A.

  • 8
    This is great for a limited number of rows, but (depending on available memory?) the process will cut short if you're concatenating beyond a couple thousand rows, leaving your output value incomplete. Be careful. – samthebrand Sep 18 '14 at 21:47
70
  • Copy the column in Excel
  • Open Word
  • "Paste special" as text only
  • Select the data in Word (the one that you need to convert to text separated with ,), press Ctrl-H (Find & replace)
  • In "Find what" box type ^p
  • In "Replace with" box type ,
  • Select "Replace all"
26

If you have Office 365 Excel then you can use TEXTJOIN():

=TEXTJOIN(",",TRUE,A:A)

enter image description here

22

I actually just created a module in VBA which does all of the work. It takes my ranged list and creates a comma-delimited string which is output into the cell of my choice:

Function csvRange(myRange As Range)
    Dim csvRangeOutput
    Dim entry as variant
    For Each entry In myRange
        If Not IsEmpty(entry.Value) Then
            csvRangeOutput = csvRangeOutput & entry.Value & ","
        End If
    Next
    csvRange = Left(csvRangeOutput, Len(csvRangeOutput) - 1)
End Function

So then in my cell, I just put =csvRange(A:A) and it gives me the comma-delimited list.

  • 1
    Ah.. pretty close to my answer, but I like your implementation. – mpeterson Feb 3 '11 at 14:27
10

An alternative approach would be to paste the Excel column into this in-browser tool:

convert.town/column-to-comma-separated-list

It converts a column of text to a comma separated list.

As the user is copying and pasting to another program anyway, this may be just as easy for them.

7

You could do something like this. If you aren't talking about a huge spreadsheet this would perform 'ok'...

  • Alt-F11, Create a macro to create the list (see code below)
  • Assign it to shortcut or toolbar button
  • User pastes their column of numbers into column A, presses the button, and their list goes into cell B1.

Here is the VBA macro code:

Sub generatecsv() 

Dim i As Integer
Dim s As String

i = 1

Do Until Cells(i, 1).Value = ""
    If (s = "") Then
        s = Cells(i, 1).Value
    Else
        s = s & "," & Cells(i, 1).Value
    End If
    i = i + 1 
Loop

Cells(1, 2).Value = s

End Sub

Be sure to set the format of cell B1 to 'text' or you'll get a messed up number. I'm sure you can do this in VBA as well but I'm not sure how at the moment, and need to get back to work. ;)

6

Use vi, or vim to simply place a comma at the end of each line:

%s/$/,/

To explain this command:

  • % means do the action (i.e., find and replace) to all lines
  • s indicates substitution
  • / separates the arguments (i.e., s/find/replace/options)
  • $ represents the end of a line
  • , is the replacement text in this case
  • Agreed. Not even close. – muncherelli Feb 6 '11 at 23:59
  • Disagree with comments because of context. Someone with a superuser account who posts here is often the type to use vim. – uniquegeek Mar 1 '16 at 20:25
  • I but use ViM and think the basic idea is useful. I ended up solving the problem by using the idea and a simple text editor. – Nigini Dec 16 '16 at 17:16
2

You could use How-To Geek's guide on turning a row into a column and simply reverse it. Then export the data as a csv (comma-deliminated format), and you have your plaintext comma-seperated list! You can copy from notepad and put it back into excel if you want. Also, if the you want a space after the comma, you could do a search & replace feature, replacing "," with ", ". Hope that helps!

  • Exporting to CSV is beyond what this user can do. I need it to be point and click within excel. – muncherelli Feb 2 '11 at 16:15
2

muncherelli, I liked your answer, and I tweaked it :). Just a minor thing, there are times I pull data from a sheet and use it to query a database. I added an optional "textQualify" parameter that helps create a comma seperated list usable in a query.

Function csvRange(myRange As Range, Optional textQualify As String)
    'e.g. csvRange(A:A)  or csvRange(A1:A2,"'") etc in a cell to hold the string
    Dim csvRangeOutput
    For Each entry In myRange
        If Not IsEmpty(entry.Value) Then
            csvRangeOutput = csvRangeOutput & textQualify & entry.Value & textQualify & ","
        End If
    Next
    csvRange = Left(csvRangeOutput, Len(csvRangeOutput) - 1)
End Function
1

I improved the generatecsv() sub to handle an excel sheet that contains multiple lists with blank lines seperating both the titles of each list and the lists from their titles. example

list title 1

item 1
item 2

list title 2

item 1
item 2

and combines them ofcourse into multiple rows, 1 per list.

reason, I had a client send me multiple keywords in list format for their website based on subject matter, needed a way to get these keywords into the webpages easily. So modified the routine and came up with the following, also I changed the variable names to meaninful names:

    Sub generatecsv()

      Dim dataRow As Integer
      Dim listRow As Integer
      Dim data As String

      dataRow = 1: Rem the row that it is being read from column A otherwise known as 1 in vb script
      listRow = 1: Rem the row in column B that is getting written

      Do Until Cells(dataRow, 1).Value = "" And Cells(dataRow + 1, 1).Value = ""
        If (data = "") Then
          data = Cells(dataRow, 1).Value
        Else
          If Cells(dataRow, 1).Value <> "" Then
            data = data & "," & Cells(dataRow, 1).Value
          Else
            Cells(listRow, 2).Value = data
            data = ""
            listRow = listRow + 1
          End If
        End If
        dataRow = dataRow + 1
      Loop

      Cells(listRow, 2).Value = data

    End Sub
1

Sux2Lose's answer is my preferred method, but it doesn't work if you're dealing with more than a couple thousand rows, and may break for even fewer rows if your computer doesn't have much available memory.

Best practice in this case is probably to copy the column, create a new workbook, past special in A1 of the new workbook and Transpose so that the column is now a row. Then save the workbook as a .csv. Your csv is now basically a plain-text comma separated list that you can open in a text editor.

Note: Remember to transpose the column into a row before saving as csv. Otherwise Excel won't know to stick commas between the values.

-1

One of the easiest ways is to use zamazin.co web app for these kind of comma separating tasks. Just fill in the column data and hit the convert button to make a comma separated list. You can even use some other settings to improve the desired output.

http://zamazin.co/comma-separator-tool

enter image description here

-2

Use =CONCATENATE(A1;",";A2;",";A3;",";A4;",";A5) on the cell that you want to display the result.

  • 3
    This is an unscalable manual solution. – Daniel Hári Apr 7 '16 at 9:49

protected by Pops Oct 6 '14 at 22:58

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