Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Word 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Word, click here: Formatting an ASCII Table with Spaces.

Formatting an ASCII Table with Spaces

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated June 26, 2018)

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 selected the option from the Table menu and then chose 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 (781) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Word (Word 2007 and later) 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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Controlling Footnote Placement

Footnotes are normally placed at the bottom of the page on which the footnote is referenced. However, Word provides some ...

Discover More

Formatting Text in Custom Document Properties

Word allows you to create custom document properties that stay with a document and can be inserted through the use of ...

Discover More

Embedded MP4 Files in a PDF Document

There are several ways you can create PDFs from your Word documents. When doing so, not everything in the Word document ...

Discover More

The First and Last Word on Word! Bestselling For Dummies author Dan Gookin puts his usual fun and friendly candor back to work to show you how to navigate Word 2013. Spend more time working and less time trying to figure it all out! Check out Word 2013 For Dummies today!

More WordTips (menu)

Different Table Captions on Multiple Pages

If you have a table that spans multiple pages, you may want to add a caption to the table and have that caption use ...

Discover More

Freezing a Table

Tired of Word changing the dimensions of table cells to accommodate what you place in those cells? You can instruct Word ...

Discover More

Erroneous Table Math

Depending on the type of data you have in your table, the SUM(ABOVE) function might return incorrect results. Here's an ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is five minus 3?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the menu interface (Word 97, Word 2000, Word 2002, or Word 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.

Videos
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.