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Barry MacDonnell's
Toolbox for WordPerfect

Macros, tips, and templates for Corel® WordPerfect® for Windows®
© Copyright 1996-2019 by Barry MacDonnell. All Rights Reserved.

Page updated Mar 4, 2019

WordPerfect Tips
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How to convert text to a table -or- convert a table to text or to a merge data file

Related items -

Using WordPerfect tables

Merge tips

Merge tips for multi-page documents

WordPerfect's online Help (F1 key, Search tab: "Convert text to a table" or "Creating a table by converting text") describes how to create a table from tabular text (text separated by tabs), or text in parallel columns, or text in paragraphs. (See the next section.)

You can also do the reverse: E.g., convert a table to text, or to a merge data file. (See the second section below.)

I.  To create a table by converting text

[Note that some text to be converted might have used line break [Ln Brk] codes instead of hard return [HRt] codes to end lines of text. (Sometimes this is done by the user with <Ctrl+Shift+L>, and sometimes it is done by the program when importing material from another source.) You should replace line breaks with hard returns (you can use Find and Replace to do it) before following the next steps.]

•  In WordPerefct X6 and other recent versions:

Use WordPerfect Help (F1) and in the Search tab: "Creating tables" or "Converting text to tables" or "Create a table by converting text".

For example:

1. Select the text.

2. Click Table, Convert to bring up the "Convert: Text to Table" dialog.

3. Choose the number of columns, etc., on the left side of the dialog. [Optional step in most cases since the program usually detects the necessary number of "columns" in the source text.]

4. In the Text delimiters area, enable one of the options.

For example:

To convert items separated by commas (such as a .CSV file), where each line item (a.k.a., record) ends in a hard return, choose Commas.
[The number of columns in step #3 above should equal the number of comma-separated items in each row of text.]

To convert items separated by tabs (e.g., this often was the way to create columnar material in a list of items), choose Tabs.
(Hint: For tab separated material you can just use Step 1 and then use Table, Create from the main menu. This shortcut brings up the "Convert: Text to Table" dialog with Tabs selected.)

To convert single items (words, phrases, sentences, paragraphs, List items, etc.) that end in hard returns (HRt), choose Paragraphs. (See also the Note above.)

To convert text items where each record's items are separated horizontally by spaces
(e.g., line items in data sheets) instead of tabs, choose User Defined and type a space character (i.e., press the spacebar) in the adjacent field.

5. Click OK.


Table as a conversion tool: Once formatted as a table, the table can then be converted to another format with Table, Convert (such as into Comma Separated Value (CSV) format, paragraph separated text, merge data file (below), etc.).

☼ If you want to convert WordPerfect columns (i.e., text created with Format, Columns) to a table, first convert the columns to regular text by opening Reveal Codes and deleting the [Col Def] code at the beginning of the columns, then convert the text to a table.

Tables can be sorted easily. See "Using WordPerfect tables" for this and several other tips.

☼ See also "Creating a table from existing labels."

•  In some earlier WordPerfect versions:

Use WordPerfect Help (F1) and in the Search tab: "Create a table by converting text"

1. Select the tabular text or parallel columns.

2. Click Table. (In WordPerfect 9 and earlier, click Insert, Table.)

3. Enable one of the following buttons:

   · Tabular Column - converts tabular text into a table
   · Parallel Column - converts parallel columns into a table


☼  If you have a document composed of text "fields" separated by commas (.CSV, or Comma Separated Values), you can replace the commas with tabs to create tabular text, and then convert the text to a table (as above): Use Find and Replace to replace all commas with a [Left Tab] code (use the Replace, Codes... menu choice to insert that particular tab code in the "Replace with" field).

What is not mentioned in the Help file is that you also can convert any group of items separated by hard returns ([HRt]) to a one-column table in the same way. (Choose the Tabular Column option after selecting the list.) This is a great way to turn a list of items into a table format.

II.  To convert a table to text or a merge data file

•  In WordPerefct X5 and other recent versions:

Just place your cursor anywhere in the table, then click Table, Convert on the main menu.


☼  You can also do it this way: Open Reveal Codes and delete the [Tbl Def] code. A "Delete Table" dialog appears which lets you Convert the table contents.

☼  For a merge data text file, you probably want to first create a header row for Field Names. Just place the cursor in the top row, right-click there, and choose Insert, Rows [1], Before. Then enter the field names in that row.

Then when you use Table, Convert you can choose the option "Use text in first row as field names". [See also "Merge tips".]

☼  You can also use a data table file directly, as the source for a merge, as explained in WordPerfect's Help (F1) under "merge data, creating".

The first table row contains field names, subsequent rows contain the data records to merge, and column cells contain the particular field's data to merge for each record.

•  In some earlier WordPerfect versions:

Select the table (you can place your cursor anywhere in the table and click on Select Table, Select Table from the Table property bar), then click on Table, Delete from the property bar (or just right-click while inside the selected table and then click Delete on the context menu). A dialog will pop up; use one of the Table Structure or Convert Contents options to turn the table back into text or into a merge data file.