Adding Spaces in Front of Capital Letters

Muhammad has a long list of company names in a worksheet. Each company’s name has somehow had all spaces removed, so that (for example) they appear as “AstroPhysics” instead of “Astro Physics.” Muhammad needs a way to process all the company names to insert a single space between any occurrence of a capital letter, except for the first letter in the cell. He wonders if there is an easy way to do this.

There are a few ways that you can go about adding the spaces. Before getting to the inevitable macro-based solutions, you might want to examine the company names. It could be that there is simply a non-printing character between each word in the name, instead of a space. You can determine this by editing the cell, positioning the insertion point a few characters before a capital letter, and then pressing the right arrow several times. You should see the insertion point move a single space to the right after each press; if it seems to “hesitate” where the space should be, then there is a non-printing character there.

In this case, the best solution is to do a Find and Replace operation to replace the non-printing character with an actual space. (You can select the non-printing character-hold down the Shift key as you press the right arrow over where you believe it to be-and copy it. Then paste it into the Find What box to do your search.)

Assuming the data doesn’t have any non-printing characters in it, you might also try using a non-macro approach. Perhaps the simplest approach is to add a helper column or two. In the first you can enter a formula to figure out the position of the second uppercase letter within the company name. Assuming the company name is in cell A1, the formula, which follows, should be entered as an array formula:


If this formula was entered into cell B1, then you could use the following to insert the space into the original company name:

=LEFT(A1,B1-1)&" " & RIGHT(A1,(LEN(A1)-B1)+1)

There is a huge drawback to this approach, however: It assumes that your original data follows a very strict format. It works marvelously with company names that start with a capital letter and that require the insertion of only a single space. If the name doesn’t fit these parameters, then it won’t work as expected.

Of course, you can overcome these issues if you use a macro to insert the spaces. The following is a simple approach that looks at each character in the cell. If the character is an uppercase letter, then a space is inserted before the character. When the macro is done, the string is stuffed back into the cell.

Function Add_Spaces(ByVal sText As String) As String
   Dim CharNum As Long
   Dim FixedText As String
   Dim CharCode As Long

   FixedText = Left(sText, 1)

   For CharNum = 2 To Len(sText)
      CharCode = Asc(Mid(sText, CharNum, 1))
      If CharCode >= 65 And CharCode <= 90 Then
         FixedText = FixedText & " " & Mid(sText, CharNum, 1)
         FixedText = FixedText & Mid(sText, CharNum, 1)
      End If
   Next CharNum

   Add_Spaces = FixedText
End Function

Using the macro is simple; if the company name is in cell A1, then the following is used:


A more compact approach is to rely on regular expressions to locate the capital letters and insert a space, as shown in the following:

Function SplitCaps(str As String) As String
    Dim objRegex As Object
    Set objRegex = CreateObject("vbscript.regexp")

    With objRegex
        .Global = True
        .Pattern = "([a-z])([A-Z])"
        SplitCaps = .Replace(str, "$1 $2")
    End With
End Function

This particular macro technique requires that you enable regular expressions. You do this in the VB Editor by choose Tools | References and then scrolling through the available references to locate the Microsoft VBScript Regular Expressions 5.5 option. Make sure the check box to the left of the reference is selected, then click OK. You can then utilize the SplitCaps function from within Excel in the same way you could use the Add_Spaces function.

Of course, the appropriateness of any approach will depend, in large part, on the characteristics of the data you are working with. If your original company names include multiple sequential capital letters (such as “ABCCorp.”) then you will end up with too many spaces in your output, such that “ABCCorp.” becomes “A B C Corp.” instead of “ABC Corp.”. Also, non-letter characters may throw a wrench in the works such that “H&M” becomes “H& M” or remains as “H&M” (depending on the macro approach you use).

In an effort to overcome some of these odd-ball company names, you might try a different macro approach that checks to see if there are multiple sequential capital letters and adjusts the output accordingly.

Sub AddSpaces()
    Dim i As Integer
    Dim j As Integer
    Dim PriorCap As Boolean
    Dim temp As String

    j = 1

    Do While Cells(j, 2)  ""
        Cells(j, 3) = ""
        PriorCap = True
        For i = 1 To Len(Cells(j, 2))
            Select Case Mid(Cells(j, 2), i, 1)
                Case "A" To "Z", "-"
                    If PriorCap = False Then
                        Cells(j, 3) = Cells(j, 3) & " " & _
                          Mid(Cells(j, 2), i, 1)
                        Cells(j, 3) = Cells(j, 3) & _
                          Mid(Cells(j, 2), i, 1)
                    End If
                    PriorCap = True
                Case Else
                    Cells(j, 3) = Cells(j, 3) & _
                      Mid(Cells(j, 2), i, 1)
                    PriorCap = False
            End Select
        Next i
        j = j + 1
End Sub