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Read a Text File with VBA in Excel, and Write the Text to a Spreadsheet

VBA can read a text file and then write it to your spreadsheet. Here's an example of a VBA program
that shows how to do it.

by Charley Kyd, MBA

Microsoft Excel MVP, 2005-2014

The Father of Spreadsheet Dashboard Reports

"I need to write a text file into one row of my Excel spreadsheet, cell by cell, 20 characters at a
time. It's urgent. Can you help?" -- Kumar

Kumar,

It's sort of a strange request. But it sounds like fun. And it demonstrates how we can read text files
into Excel using VBA.

By the way, the following code illustrates the various points I discussed in Corporate VBA Standards
For Excel Users Who Program.

To begin, create a new workbook with two sheets. Name one sheet Control and the other Target.

In the Control worksheet, enter the text shown in column A:

http://www.exceluser.com/blogdata/images/post_900_108/vba_textcols.gif

Assign the range names shown in column A to cells in column B. To do so, select the range A4:B9.
Choose Insert, Name, Create. In the Create Names dialog, ensure that only Left Column is checked.
Then choose OK.

Enter the path and name for your text file. (I used File Explorer to navigate to its directory and then
copied the path text from the Address bar.) Enter the other information shown.

Leave the Target sheet blank.


Press Alt+F11 to bring up the Visual Basic editor. To create a new module, right-click your
workbook's name in the editor's project window and choose Insert, Module.

Then copy and paste the following code to your module.

''Require that all variables be declared

Option Explicit

''======================================================

'' Program: ParseText

'' Desc: Reads a text file into a variable then

'' writes it into a row, n chars at a time

'' Called by: user

'' Call:

'' Arguments:

'' Comments: Written quickly. No error-checking.

'' Changes----------------------------------------------

'' Date Programmer Change

'' 6/14/06 Charley Kyd Written

''======================================================

Sub ParseText()

Dim sText As String, sFile As String

''Get the full path to the source file

With ThisWorkbook

sFile = .Names("SourcePath").RefersToRange

If Left(sFile, 1) <> "\" Then sFile = sFile & "\"

sFile = sFile & .Names("SourceFile").RefersToRange

End With
''Get the full text string from the text file

sText = GetText(sFile)

''Remove all nonprintable characters from the text

''Comment out if the characters are wanted

sText = Excel.WorksheetFunction.Clean(sText)

''Write to the workbook

WriteToSheet sText

End Sub

''======================================================

'' Program: GetText

'' Desc: Read a text file into a string and then

'' return the string

'' Called by: ParseText

'' Call: GetText(sFile)

'' Arguments: sFile--The full path to the text file

'' Comments:

'' Changes----------------------------------------------

'' Date Programmer Change

'' 6/14/06 Charley Kyd Written

''======================================================

Function GetText(sFile As String) As String

Dim nSourceFile As Integer, sText As String

''Close any open text files

Close
''Get the number of the next free text file

nSourceFile = FreeFile

''Write the entire file to sText

Open sFile For Input As #nSourceFile

sText = Input$(LOF(1), 1)

Close

GetText = sText

End Function

''======================================================

'' Program: WriteToSheet

'' Desc: Writes a text string to one row of a

'' worksheet, n characters per column

'' Called by: ParseText

'' Call: WriteToSheet sText

'' Arguments: sText--String with text from text file

'' Comments: This routine will throw an error if the

'' text is too long to fit within 256 columns

'' Changes----------------------------------------------

'' Date Programmer Change

'' 6/14/06 Charley Kyd Written

''======================================================

Sub WriteToSheet(sText As String)

Dim sTgtSheet As String, nTgtRow As Integer

Dim nColCount As Integer, sChunk As String

Dim nIncrement As Integer, rngRef As Range


''Get the controlling variables

With ThisWorkbook

sTgtSheet = .Names("TargetSheet").RefersToRange

nTgtRow = .Names("TargetRow").RefersToRange

nIncrement = .Names("Increment").RefersToRange

Set rngRef = Worksheets(sTgtSheet).Cells(nTgtRow, 1)

End With

''Erase any previous entries

rngRef.EntireRow.ClearContents

''Initialize the column counter

nColCount = 0

''Loop thru the string, grabbing text of specified

''length, writing the text to the spreadsheet

Do

''Increment the column count

nColCount = nColCount + 1

''Grab the current chunk of text

sChunk = Mid$(sText, 1 + (nColCount - 1) * _

nIncrement, nIncrement)

''Write it to the spreadsheet

rngRef.Cells(1, nColCount) = sChunk

''Stop after writing a partial chunk

Loop Until Len(sChunk) < nIncrement


End Sub

Finally, set up a button in your Control sheet to run the macro easily. To do so, first activate your
Control sheet. Right-click any toolbar. Click on Forms if its not already checked.

Click on the Button icon in the Forms toolbar. Doing so turns your pointer into a cross. Use the
cross to draw the outline of a button on your worksheet.

When you release your left mouse button, Excel draws the button and launches the Assign Macro
dialog. Choose the ParseText macro, then choose OK. Select the text "Button 1" in the button and
then type any text you want, like "Parse Text". Then click on any cell to deselect the button.

Now, when you click on the button, Excel should run your macro and write your text to your Target
worksheet.