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Need formula to parse ~ at varied points

Posted on 2013-12-16
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Last Modified: 2014-02-28
i have single cell data that actually contains 4 fields, seperated with a '~' that I'd like to break out with a formula... it looks like:

aaa~bbbb~cc~dddddd


a,b,c and d are NOT fixed length.
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Question by:Tom F
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Expert Comment

by:Saqib Husain, Syed
ID: 39721917
Have you tried

Data > Text-to-columns
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Expert Comment

by:Danny Child
ID: 39722453
This will do it, but it's ugly as hell.
EE---split-text-string.xlsx
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Expert Comment

by:Danny Child
ID: 39722469
Basically, it uses a series of FIND statements to track the position of each Tilde (~).
 - see the attached sheet in the comment above.

Here's how it works.  FIND works like this:

=FIND(CellRef,"~",StartPlaceInThatTextString)

Once it's found one, it uses the position of THAT one + 1, to be the start place for the next Find.

The awkward bit is calculating the Length of characters it should search for.  But this can be done by finding the position of the 2nd ~ and subtracting the position of the 1st one.  You need a minor bit of offsetting, as it's not actually the ~ you want, but what's in-between.  

For the 3rd and 4th ones, it's actually easier to use the totalled Lengths of the previous results in this formula.  

as I said... Ugly as Hell.
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Expert Comment

by:Danny Child
ID: 39722510
minor correction to last part - it worked, but was using a helper cell
Formula in B11 should read:
=RIGHT(B3,LEN(B3)-FIND("~",B3,LEN(B6)+LEN(B8)+3))

Updated copy attached!
EE---split-text-string.xlsx
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Expert Comment

by:Rob Henson
ID: 39723903
Or just use Text to columns as suggested by ssaqibh.

In the Text to Columns window, select the delimited option and then in that screen there are a number of options for what to use as a separator. Uncheck all options except Other and in the box next to Other type the ~

Then click OK buttons through to Finish.

Thanks
Rob H
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Accepted Solution

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Saqib Husain, Syed earned 2000 total points
ID: 39723952
If you must have a formula then

If your string is in A2 then you can enter this in B2 and copy it to the right as far as required

=MID("~"&$A2,FIND("#",SUBSTITUTE("~"&$A2,"~","#",COLUMN()-1))+1,FIND("#",SUBSTITUTE("~"&$A2&"~","~","#",COLUMN()))-FIND("#",SUBSTITUTE("~"&$A2,"~","#",COLUMN()-1))-1)
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by:Tom F
ID: 39723977
Thanks I'll give these two formulas a try.  I know about text to columns - not what I was looking for.
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Expert Comment

by:Rob Henson
ID: 39726315
Dare I ask why text to columns is not what you are looking for?

This function splits a string into component parts using a nominated separator which is exactly what it seems you are trying to do.

Thanks
Rob H
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Expert Comment

by:Rob Henson
ID: 39726332
See attached, created using Text to Columns.

Calcs sheet generates strings of characters with random number of parts in each.

Copy and pasted values into values sheet, at top and below.

Then used the Text to Column function on bottom set.

Really quick, no need for messy formulas or VBA.

Thanks
Rob H
Text-to-columns.xlsx
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