Converting to ASCII Text

Brenda has a lot of information that has been imported or pasted into a worksheet. Sometimes the text in the worksheet will contain “foreign” and strange characters. She wonders if there is a way to easily convert the data so that it contains no non-ASCII characters and, perhaps, some foreign characters are converted to regular ASCII values (such as converting accented letters to non-accented letters).

There are a couple of things you can try. First, you can use the CLEAN worksheet function to get rid of non-printable characters. Just use the function in this manner:


The result is “cleaned” text, without the non-printables. If you want to replace foreign characters with regular ASCII characters, that will need to be done with a macro. Here’s an example of a relatively straightforward approach:

Sub StripAccent()
    Dim sAcc As String
    Dim sReg As String
    Dim sA As String
    Dim sR As String
    Dim i As Integer

    sAcc = "????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????"
    sReg = "SZszYAAAAAACEEEEIIIIDNOOOOOUUUUYaaaaaaceeeeiiiidnooooouuuuyy"

    For i = 1 To Len(sAcc)
        sA = Mid(sAcc, i, 1)
        sR = Mid(sReg, i, 1)
        Selection.Replace What:=sA, Replacement:=sR, _
          LookAt:=xlPart, MatchCase:=True
End Sub

The macro steps through the characters in the sAcc variable and, one at a time, uses Find and Replace to replace them with the corresponding character in the sReg variable. You can adjust the contents of sAcc and sReg to reflect your conversion needs; the key is to make sure that they are both the same length.