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How to embed a text file in Microsoft Excel

Text files don’t need complicated apps to be opened in. Your browser is perfectly capable of opening a TXT file, as are most basic and advanced word processors. In fact, some apps that aren’t word processors are able to display the contents of a TXT file as well. Microsoft Excel falls within that list and you can embed a text file in Microsoft Excel. Here’s how.

Embed text file in Excel

Open the Excel file that you want to embed a text file in. Select the cell that you want the contents of the file to appear in. Go to the Data tab and click Get External Data. From the menu, select the From Text option.

Select the file that you want to embed. Once selected, you’ll be asked to format it. Here, it’s a good idea to pause and consider the contents of a file. Since you’re importing the contents in Excel, which is a spreadsheet app, it’s going to treat the contents as though it were spreadsheet data. It will do this by treating the space or paragraph breaks as delimiter values. If your file is all text, and no data, what you should do is select the Delimited option on the import window.

Click next, make any edits to the data format that you need to and click Finish when you’re done. This will open an Import Data window. Click the Properties button at the bottom.

On the Properties window, uncheck the Prompt for file name on refresh option and click OK. The contents of the text file will be embedded in the Excel sheet.

Any time you need to refresh the contents because the text file has been updated, go to the Data tab in Excel and click the Refresh All button to fetch new data.

This is an extensive feature. We’v explained how you can embed a text file in Microsoft Excel however you will see that there is a plethora of options on every single window that you encounter. For more extensive needs, or for text files that have data that isn’t just text, or just numbers, you should play around with the format options.

It goes without saying that this is for local files. If the file you’ve embedded is moved, it’s data will not be deleted from the Excel file however, you will no longer be able to refresh data and get the latest version. If it’s deleted, its contents will still remain in the Excel sheet.

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