split names google sheets

I like to use listofrandomnames.com to create sample students. This comes in handy quite often. This gives me a list of first and last names. Oftentimes I want the first and last names separated. You can also do this with your actual student names. Copy your roster of students and paste into a Google Sheets spreadsheet. If the names are already in a Google Sheets spreadsheet, highlight the names, copy and immediately paste into the same range of cells.

List of Random Names

If you want to use listofrandomnames.com, copy the “list from a text area”
list of names


When you paste into a Google Sheets spreadsheet, notice a clipboard icon shows up in the bottom right.


Clicking on the clipboard icon reveals the option to “Split text to columns.”
split text to columns


If your roster is listed as “First Last” then the words are separated by a space. The default separator is “comma.” Choose “Space” from the list instead. This will cause the spreadsheet to “eat” your spaces and place the individual words between the spaces into a new cell.
space delineated

Split list of names

Thanks @googledocs for the heads up 🙂


For those of you who, like me, enjoy writing formulas in a spreadsheet =Split(A2,” “) works also to split a list of names, separated by a space.

If you have “Last, First” you can use =split(A2,”, “) where the comma space is the separator.

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