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Trim Spaces Plug In for Microsoft Excel

written by: KateG•edited by: Michele McDonough•updated: 12/14/2008

You may not know this, but many of the spreadsheets imported into Excel have hidden spaces that impair the function of your documents. You can get rid of these spaces with a simple plug in.

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    Importing Spreadsheets into Excel

    Do you get a lot of spreadsheets from non-Excel users? If so, then you have a problem. At least you do if you need to do something else with the data. You have extra spaces in your spreadsheet. Don’t bother looking for them. You won’t be able to see them. They are hidden from view. Basic tasks like printing and sorting will not be affected by these spaces. You will only notice them when you need to further process the data.

    Want a good example? Well, take that foreign spreadsheet and search for duplicates. Even if you know that they exist and you can see them on the screen, the results will show none. This is the fault of those pesky spaces.

    This brings you to a bit of a paradox. You can’t fix a problem that you can’t see. Then again, with a little bit of help maybe you can. That help is called Trim Spaces for Excel. Trim Spaces will remove those invisible spaces from your Excel spreadsheet.

    Which versions of Excel will Trim Spaces work with?

    Trim Spaces works with a wide variety of Excel versions. The current version is compatible with Excel 2007, Excel 2003, Excel 2002 (sometimes called Excel XP), and Excel 2000.

    How does Trim spaces work? Is it easy to use?

    Unlike some other plug ins that I could name, Trim Spaces does not work quietly in the background. In the end, this is probably more a practical matter than it is a flaw in the program. After all, the average user will probably not open a great number of foreign spreadsheets. Running Trim Spaces on every spreadsheet would be a waste of system resources, not to mention a waste of your time.

    To run Trim Spaces, just follow these steps:

    1. Open your target spreadsheet and highlight the cells.

    2. Open the Trim Spaces program by double clicking on its desktop icon.

    3. Click on the “run” button and your excess spaces will be taken care of automatically.

    As you can see, even though it will not run in the background, it is pretty easy to use.

    How is installation?

    Installing the program is very simple. It is important to mention that this program will take up slightly more than one megabyte of your system's space to install. For most users this will not be a major determent. I just felt you should know. This way you can make an informed decision.

    Overall, this program is very useful for a small group of users. If you do not fall into that group, you will probably have little use for this program. That is a personal decision for you based on your personal experiences and needs. Of course, if you find that you are not using the program, you can always uninstall it.