How to Split Cells in Google Sheets: A Step-by-Step Guide

Splitting cells in Google Sheets might sound like a task for tech wizards, but it’s actually pretty simple. All you need to do is use the “Split text to columns” feature or formulas like SPLIT and REGEXEXTRACT. With a few clicks or formula inputs, you can divide one cell’s content into multiple columns. Ready to become a Google Sheets pro? Let’s get started.

Step by Step Tutorial: How to Split Cells in Google Sheets

Before we dive into the steps, let’s clarify what we’re aiming to achieve. Splitting cells helps you organize and manage your data more effectively. Whether you want to separate first and last names, or divide addresses into street, city, and zip code, this feature is a lifesaver. Now, onto the steps!

Step 1: Select the cell or cells you want to split.

Click on the cell that contains the text you want to split. If you want to split multiple cells, drag your mouse to highlight them.

Splitting cells in Google Sheets starts with selection. Just like you select text before you cut or copy it, you need to tell Google Sheets which cells you’re working with.

Step 2: Click on “Data” in the toolbar.

Look for the “Data” option in the menu at the top of your Google Sheets page.

The “Data” menu is where all the magic happens in terms of managing your spreadsheet’s content. It’s the gateway to many useful features, including the one we need for splitting cells.

Step 3: Choose “Split text to columns.”

In the dropdown menu under “Data,” you’ll see the option “Split text to columns.” Click on it.

“Split text to columns” is the feature specifically designed for dividing the content of one cell across multiple columns. It’s straightforward and requires no complex formulas or coding.

Step 4: Select the delimiter.

A small menu will appear at the bottom of your screen, asking you to choose a separator, also known as a delimiter. This could be a comma, space, period, or even a custom character.

The delimiter tells Google Sheets what character or space is used to separate the data in your cell. For instance, if you’re splitting names, you would likely use a space as your delimiter.

Step 5: Watch your data split into separate columns.

After selecting the delimiter, your data will automatically be split into separate columns right before your eyes.

The beauty of “Split text to columns” is its immediacy. You don’t have to wait or do anything extra. The split happens instantly, organizing your data neatly into individual columns.

After completing these steps, you’ll have a neatly organized spreadsheet with the previously combined data now spread out into its own distinct columns. This not only makes your data more readable but also more usable for things like mail merges, data analysis, and more.

Tips for How to Split Cells in Google Sheets

  • Always make sure your data has a consistent delimiter before splitting. This ensures a smooth and error-free process.
  • If your data doesn’t have a clear delimiter, consider using formulas like SPLIT or REGEXEXTRACT to divide it.
  • Remember that splitting cells is a one-way process. If you want to revert the changes, you’ll need to use the “Undo” feature or combine the cells again manually.
  • Use the “Preview” option in the delimiter menu to see how your data will look post-split, giving you a chance to make adjustments if necessary.
  • If you’re dealing with complex data, consider making a copy of your sheet before splitting cells, just in case something goes wrong.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I split cells vertically in Google Sheets?

No, Google Sheets currently only allows splitting cells horizontally, from one cell into multiple columns. If you need to split data into rows, you’ll need to do it manually or use a script.

What if my data doesn’t have a clear delimiter?

If your data isn’t separated by a consistent character or space, you can use formulas like SPLIT or REGEXEXTRACT to define the conditions for splitting.

Is it possible to split cells into rows instead of columns?

As of now, Google Sheets doesn’t have a built-in feature for splitting cells into rows. You would have to do this manually or use a Google Apps Script to automate the process.

Can I choose a custom delimiter?

Absolutely! If your data uses a unique character to separate information, you can select “Custom” in the delimiter menu and enter the character you need.

Will splitting cells affect my formulas or references in the sheet?

Splitting cells can impact formulas and references if they are tied to the cell you’re dividing. It’s always a good idea to check your formulas before and after splitting cells to ensure everything still works correctly.


  1. Select the cell or cells you want to split.
  2. Click on “Data” in the toolbar.
  3. Choose “Split text to columns.”
  4. Select the delimiter.
  5. Watch your data split into separate columns.


Mastering how to split cells in Google Sheets can transform the way you work with data. It’s not just about making your spreadsheet look neat; it’s about efficiency and unlocking the potential of your data. By following the steps outlined in this article, you’re now equipped to tackle any cell-splitting task that comes your way.

Remember, practice makes perfect. The more you use the split cells feature, the more intuitive it’ll become. And don’t forget to explore other Google Sheets features that can complement your newfound skill. From creating drop-down lists to using conditional formatting, there’s a whole world of possibilities waiting for you in Google Sheets.

So go ahead, give it a try. Split some cells, organize your data, and watch as your Google Sheets become more powerful and useful than ever before. And if you ever get stuck, just come back to this guide. We’ve got your back.

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