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 January 22, 2016)

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 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.

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

Using BIN2DEC In a Macro

Need a way, in a macro, to convert binary numbers into their decimal equivalents? There are two ways you can get the desired ...

Discover More

Sorting by Colors

Need to sort your data based on the color of the cell? Excel doesn't include this capability, but you can still do the ...

Discover More

Using AutoCorrect to Start Macros

As you are typing, AutoCorrect provides a "check" that what you are entering doesn't match some pre-defined error triggers. ...

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)

Quick Recall of Table Formats

Got a table that you use over and over again? One way you can make quick work of such repetition is to save the table in an ...

Discover More

Table Won't Flow to Second Page

Have you ever created a table that never seems to flow to a second page, even when it should? This could be caused by any ...

Discover More

Adding a Line Before a Table

Easily add a blank line before your already inserted table.

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}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. 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 six more than 8?

2012-10-26 10:52:23

William J. Wolfe

I've used a similar macro for years, except that the macro I scripted follows up by "cleaning up" space-tab, and tab-space pairs (removing the spaces, then by reducing tab-tab pairs to single tabs.

Assuming that text in the table does not contain extra spaces (e.g., following a full-stop or before/after a hard return), the resulting text will convertcleanly to the desired row-column configuration.


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.

Newest Tips
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.