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Excel Formula: Normalize text

Author: Sun Last Modified: 2020-01-09

Sometimes, while you import some text string from other devices or locations, they may with some punctuations, extra spaces, or upper cases which you want to remove and adjust. Here this tutorial introduces a formula which combines the LOWER, TRIM and SUBSTITUTE to deal with this task.
doc check if contains some but not others 1

Generic formula:

=LOWER(TRIM(SUBSTITUTE(SUBSTITUTE(SUBSTITUTE(SUBSTITUTE(SUBSTITUTE(
SUBSTITUTE(SUBSTITUTE(SUBSTITUTE(text,"("," "),")"," "),"-"," "),":"," "),";"," "),"!"," "),","," "),"."," ")))

Arguments

Text: the text string you want to normalize.

Return value:

This formula removes the punctuations, extra spaces and converts upper cases to lower cases.

How this formula work

For instance, normalize the texts in range B3:B5 and output results in C3:C5. Please use below formula in C3:

=LOWER(TRIM(SUBSTITUTE(SUBSTITUTE(SUBSTITUTE(SUBSTITUTE(SUBSTITUTE(SUBSTITUTE(
SUBSTITUTE(SUBSTITUTE(B3,"("," "),")"," "),"-"," "),":"," "),";"," "),"!"," "),","," "),"."," ")))

Press Enter key, then drag fill handle down to cell C5 to get the normalize texts of cell B3:B5.
doc normalize text 2

Explanation

SUBSTITUTE(SUBSTITUTE(SUBSTITUTE(SUBSTITUTE(SUBSTITUTE(SUBSTITUTE(SUBSTITUTE(
SUBSTITUTE(text,"("," "),")"," "),"-"," "),":"," "),";"," "),"!"," "),","," "),"."," ")
: the SUBSTITUTE function will replace the old text with the new one in the text string, here this formula will replace the punctuations with spaces.

TRIM function: the TRIM function removes the extra spaces from text string.

LOWER function: the LOWER function converts uppercase letters to lowercase.

Remark

If you want to remain the leading or trailing spaces in the text string, you can use this formula:

=" "&LOWER(TRIM(SUBSTITUTE(SUBSTITUTE(SUBSTITUTE(SUBSTITUTE(SUBSTITUTE(SUBSTITUTE(
SUBSTITUTE(SUBSTITUTE(B3,"("," "),")"," "),"-"," "),":"," "),";"," "),"!"," "),","," "),"."," ")))&" "

doc normalize text 3

Sample File

doc sampleClick to download sample file


Relative Formulas

  • Check if a cell contains a specific text
    To check if a cell contains some texts in range A but does not contain the texts in range B, you can use an array formula which combines the COUNT, SEARCH and AND function in Excel
  • Check if a cell contains one of several values but exclude other values
    This tutorial will provide a formula to quickly handle the task that check if a cell contains one of things but excluding other values in Excel and explain the arguments of the formula.
  • Check if cell contains one of things
    Supposing in Excel, there is a list of values in column E, you want to check if the cells in column B contain all of the values in column E, and return TRUE or FALSE.
  • Check if cell contains number
    Sometimes, you may want to check if a cell contains numeric characters. This tutorial provides a formula which will return TRUE if the cell contains number, FALSE if cell does not contain number.

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