Preparing Data for Import into Access

If you are a database programmer you may sometimes get Excel files that you have to “clean up” to put into Access. Two common problems are caused by Social Security Numbers and ZIP Codes. These are best stored as text in the database, and not as numbers as they often are in Excel. (In Excel the numbers may display properly because of cell formatting, and not because they are stored as text.)

Even when the range is formatted as text in Excel, complete with leading zeroes, Access more often than not converts these values to numbers. However, if the number is preceded with an apostrophe, as for a label, Access will correctly import it as text without the leading apostrophe.

To prepare Social Security Numbers for importing in Access a quick little macro can come in handy-one that makes sure that leading zeros are present and that the apostrophe is in place for the cell. To use the macro, just select the range of Social Security Numbers and then run the macro:

Sub SSN2Text()
    Dim c As Range
    Application.ScreenUpdating = False
    'Format selected cells as text
    Selection.NumberFormat = "@"
    For Each c In Selection
        If Left(c, 1) = "'" Then
            'strip the apostrophe, if any
            c = Mid(c, 2, 99)
        Else
            c = "'" & Right("000000000" & c, 9)
        End If
    Next c
    Application.ScreenUpdating = True
End Sub

The solution for the ZIP Codes is similar in nature. The macro to process ZIP Codes steps through each cell in the selection, formats it as text, adds a leading apostrophe, and plugs in any leading zeroes. The difference is that the macro must also account for instances where there are either five-digit or nine-digit ZIP Codes.

Sub ZIP2Text()
    Dim c As Range
    Application.ScreenUpdating = False
    'Format selected cells as text
    Selection.NumberFormat = "@"
    For Each c In Selection
        If Left(c, 1) = "'" Then
            'strip the apostrophe, if any
            c = Mid(c, 2, 99)
        End If
        If Len(c) <= 5 Then
            c = "'" & Right("00000" & c, 5)
        Else
            c = "'" & Right("00000" & c, 10)
        End If
    Next c
    Application.ScreenUpdating = True
End Sub