Separating First and Last Names in Google Sheets: A Step-by-Step Guide

Sometimes in Google Sheets, you need to split full names into first and last names. Whether it’s for organizing data or sending out personalized emails, knowing how to separate names can be a handy skill. In just a few clicks, you can have your data sorted out. Let’s dive in!

Step by Step Tutorial on Separating First and Last Names in Google Sheets

Before we start, it’s important to note that we’ll be using a function in Google Sheets to do this. The function will do all the heavy lifting, and you’ll be left with neatly organized names.

Step 1: Select the Cell with the Full Name

Click on the cell that contains the full name you want to split.

Step 2: Go to the Data Menu

In the Google Sheets toolbar, click on “Data.”

Step 3: Choose ‘Split text to columns’

In the Data menu, you’ll see an option that says ‘Split text to columns’. Click on it.

After you click on ‘Split text to columns’, a small menu will pop up at the bottom of the cell. This is where you’ll tell Google Sheets what to use to split the data.

Step 4: Select the Separator

In the separator menu, choose the option that best fits how the names are structured. Usually, it’s a space.

Choosing the right separator is key. If the names are separated by a comma or another special character, make sure to choose that instead of a space.

Step 5: Check Your Data

Your names should now be separated into two columns: one for first names and one for last names.

Sometimes, you might need to do some additional cleaning up, like removing any extra spaces or fixing any names that didn’t split correctly.

After completing these steps, you will have successfully separated first and last names into individual columns in your Google Sheets document. This will make your data much easier to work with and analyze.

Tips for Separating First and Last Names in Google Sheets

  • Make sure your full names are in one column before you start.
  • If you have middle names or multiple last names, you may need to do additional tweaking after splitting the names.
  • Use ‘Undo’ (Ctrl + Z) if you split the names incorrectly and need to start over.
  • Consider creating a copy of your data before you begin, just in case.
  • Explore the ‘Text to columns’ feature further, as it has other uses, such as splitting addresses or dates.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if there are middle names included?

If middle names are included, they will either end up in the first or last name column, depending on where they are placed. You may need to manually adjust these.

Can I split names that are separated by commas?

Yes, you can. Just choose ‘Comma’ as the separator in Step 4.

Will this work with names that have special characters or accents?

Yes, the function should still work, but you may need to choose ‘Custom’ as the separator and specify the special character.

How can I merge the names back together?

You can use the CONCATENATE function or the ‘&’ symbol to merge the cells back into one full name.

Can I use this feature on the Google Sheets app on my phone?

The ‘Split text to columns’ feature is best used on the desktop version of Google Sheets. The mobile app has limited functionality.


  1. Select the cell with the full name.
  2. Go to the Data menu.
  3. Choose ‘Split text to columns’.
  4. Select the appropriate separator.
  5. Check your data and make any necessary adjustments.


Separating first and last names in Google Sheets is a breeze once you know how to do it. With the ‘Split text to columns’ feature, Google Sheets does most of the work for you. It’s all about selecting the right cell, choosing the correct separator, and letting the function do the rest. Remember, this feature isn’t just for names; it’s a versatile tool that can handle a variety of data splitting tasks.

By following the steps outlined in this article, you should be able to organize your data more efficiently. This will save you time and frustration, especially when dealing with large datasets. Plus, with the additional tips and answers to common questions, you’ll be a Google Sheets whiz in no time.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with different separators and functions within Google Sheets. The more comfortable you get with these features, the more you’ll be able to do with your data. So go ahead, give it a try, and watch your data transform before your eyes. Happy splitting!

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