Extract text with AI in Excel with Flash Fill

Last Updated on 20/02/2024
Reading time: 2 minutes

Flash Fill is the first AI-powered tool introduced in Excel, designed to extract text effortlessly.

Flash Fill can recognize various patterns such as splitting by spaces, commas, hyphens, or combining data with specific characters. It saves time and effort, especially when dealing with large datasets and repetitive formatting tasks. You can use Flash Fill in Excel 2013 and later versions.

Flash Fill in Action

Let's explore various situations where Flash Fill saves time by extracting substrings..

Extract the Last Name in uppercase

  1. Write the Name you want to extract from A2
  2. Write it in uppercase even if the source in Camel Case
  3. In the second row, start to write the first letters of your next extraction
  4. Validate if the extraction is what you want
Extract FirstName in UpperCase

Extract the Last Name and Capital First Name

Now, we will perform a more complex extraction. We want to extract the last name, followed by the first letter of the first name in uppercase.

Extract LastName and Capital letter of FirstName

Extract the City Name and the ZipCode

The extraction process is more complex here because we need to select two non-continuous address items.

Extract City and ZipCode

Reformat the phone number

Flash Fill can also reformat your data.

Here, the situation is basic but not easy to handle. We want to enclose the first 3 figures in parentheses and maintain the same pattern for the rest of the number.

Reformat the Phone Number

Limitations of using Flash Fill

While Flash Fill in Excel is a powerful and convenient tool for data manipulation, it does have some limitations and potential drawbacks:

  1. No update: Flash fill extracts data all at once, without using formulas. This means that if the data is refreshed, the extraction will not be updated.
  2. Data Overwriting: If you're not careful, Flash Fill can overwrite existing data. If you accidentally apply Flash Fill without verifying the results, you might lose important information.
  3. Pattern Recognition Limitation: Flash Fill relies on pattern recognition, so if your data doesn't follow a clear pattern, or if there are slight inconsistencies, it might not work as expected. Unpredictable or irregular data might lead to inaccurate results.
  4. Performance Impact: Applying Flash Fill on large datasets or columns with extensive data can slow down the performance of Excel, especially on older computers or with large Excel files.

Despite these limitations, Flash Fill remains a valuable tool for many common data cleaning and formatting tasks in Excel. Users should be aware of its limitations and verify results to ensure accurate data manipulation.

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Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Extract text with AI in Excel with Flash Fill

Reading time: 2 minutes
Last Updated on 20/02/2024

Flash Fill is the first AI-powered tool introduced in Excel, designed to extract text effortlessly.

Flash Fill can recognize various patterns such as splitting by spaces, commas, hyphens, or combining data with specific characters. It saves time and effort, especially when dealing with large datasets and repetitive formatting tasks. You can use Flash Fill in Excel 2013 and later versions.

Flash Fill in Action

Let's explore various situations where Flash Fill saves time by extracting substrings..

Extract the Last Name in uppercase

  1. Write the Name you want to extract from A2
  2. Write it in uppercase even if the source in Camel Case
  3. In the second row, start to write the first letters of your next extraction
  4. Validate if the extraction is what you want
Extract FirstName in UpperCase

Extract the Last Name and Capital First Name

Now, we will perform a more complex extraction. We want to extract the last name, followed by the first letter of the first name in uppercase.

Extract LastName and Capital letter of FirstName

Extract the City Name and the ZipCode

The extraction process is more complex here because we need to select two non-continuous address items.

Extract City and ZipCode

Reformat the phone number

Flash Fill can also reformat your data.

Here, the situation is basic but not easy to handle. We want to enclose the first 3 figures in parentheses and maintain the same pattern for the rest of the number.

Reformat the Phone Number

Limitations of using Flash Fill

While Flash Fill in Excel is a powerful and convenient tool for data manipulation, it does have some limitations and potential drawbacks:

  1. No update: Flash fill extracts data all at once, without using formulas. This means that if the data is refreshed, the extraction will not be updated.
  2. Data Overwriting: If you're not careful, Flash Fill can overwrite existing data. If you accidentally apply Flash Fill without verifying the results, you might lose important information.
  3. Pattern Recognition Limitation: Flash Fill relies on pattern recognition, so if your data doesn't follow a clear pattern, or if there are slight inconsistencies, it might not work as expected. Unpredictable or irregular data might lead to inaccurate results.
  4. Performance Impact: Applying Flash Fill on large datasets or columns with extensive data can slow down the performance of Excel, especially on older computers or with large Excel files.

Despite these limitations, Flash Fill remains a valuable tool for many common data cleaning and formatting tasks in Excel. Users should be aware of its limitations and verify results to ensure accurate data manipulation.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *