How to Split First and Last Name in Google Sheets: A Step-by-Step Guide

Splitting first and last names in Google Sheets is a cinch once you know how. You’ll be using a formula that tells Google Sheets to look for a space in the cell and then separate the text into two different columns. Sounds simple, right? Let’s dive in!

Step by Step Tutorial on How to Split First and Last Name in Google Sheets

Before we get started, let’s get a quick lowdown on what we’re about to do. By the end of this tutorial, you’ll have two separate columns for first and last names instead of one jumbled mess. It’s going to make organizing and sifting through your data a breeze. Ready to get started?

Step 1: Select the Column with Names

Click on the column header that contains the full names you want to split.

Selecting the correct column is essential because this is where the magic happens. Make sure you’ve got all the names you want to split lined up and ready to go.

Step 2: Go to Data > Split text to columns

Click on the "Data" menu at the top and select "Split text to columns".

This is the feature in Google Sheets that does all the heavy lifting for you. By choosing this option, you’re telling Google Sheets to prepare to divide the data in the selected column.

Step 3: Choose Space as Separator

When prompted, choose "Space" as the separator.

Since most names are separated by a space (like "Jane Doe"), selecting space as the separator lets Google Sheets know exactly where to split the name.

Step 4: Watch Google Sheets Work its Magic

Google Sheets will automatically split the names into two columns.

And just like that, you’re done! With just a few clicks, you’ve organized your data into a more readable and functional format.

After you complete the steps above, you’ll have two neat columns: one for first names and another for last names. This will make any further sorting, searching, or organizing tasks you have much more manageable. Say goodbye to the days of sifting through a single, cluttered name column.

Tips for Splitting First and Last Name in Google Sheets

  • Make a backup of your data before you begin, just in case something goes wrong.
  • If you have middle names included, you may need to use additional steps to split those out.
  • Make sure there are no extra spaces before or after the names, as this can affect how the names are split.
  • If you have names with more than one space (like a double-barreled last name), you’ll have to do some manual clean-up.
  • Use the "Undo" feature (Ctrl + Z) if you make a mistake and need to revert back to the original format.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if there are middle names included?

If the names you’re splitting include middle names, they will end up in the last name column. You’ll need to manually move them to a separate column if needed.

Can I split names that have more than one space?

Yes, but Google Sheets will split at every space, so you may have some additional clean-up to do for names that are not just a first and last name.

What if I accidentally mess up my data?

No worries! You can simply press Ctrl + Z to undo your last action and try again.

Can I split names into more than two columns?

Absolutely! You can repeat the splitting process for each space in the name if you need to separate titles, middle names, or suffixes.

What happens to the original column of names?

Once split, the original column of names will be replaced by the newly split columns. If you need to keep the original intact, make sure to copy the data to a new column first.


  1. Select the column with names.
  2. Go to Data > Split text to columns.
  3. Choose Space as the separator.
  4. Watch Google Sheets split the names.


Congratulations! You’re now a pro at splitting first and last names in Google Sheets. This skill can save you heaps of time and frustration when working with large datasets. Whether you’re organizing a mailing list, analyzing customer data, or compiling a class roster, having neatly separated name columns can make your life so much easier. Remember, it’s all about finding the right tools to work smarter, not harder. And Google Sheets is one powerful tool to have in your arsenal.

As with any data manipulation task, be sure to double-check your results. No one wants to send an email to "Smith" instead of "John Smith" because of a splitting error. Keep practicing, and soon enough, you’ll be splitting names like a data ninja. Who knows, maybe you’ll even discover new and creative ways to use this nifty trick in your spreadsheets. Happy splitting!