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# Best Excel Tip Ever?

30 July 2024

One of the most common questions we are ever asked is how to translate a number into words, e.g.

You may even have encountered this problem for yourself.  Microsoft suggests you write VBA code to create a user-defined function (let’s not assume they’d actually create a function!):

Option Explicit

'Main Function

Function SpellNumber(ByVal MyNumber)

Dim Dollars, Cents, Temp

Dim DecimalPlace, Count

ReDim Place(9) As String

Place(2) = " Thousand "

Place(3) = " Million "

Place(4) = " Billion "

Place(5) = " Trillion "

' String representation of amount.

MyNumber = Trim(Str(MyNumber))

' Position of decimal place 0 if none.

DecimalPlace = InStr(MyNumber, ".")

' Convert cents and set MyNumber to dollar amount.

If DecimalPlace > 0 Then

Cents = GetTens(Left(Mid(MyNumber, DecimalPlace + 1) & _

"00", 2))

MyNumber = Trim(Left(MyNumber, DecimalPlace - 1))

End If

Count = 1

Do While MyNumber <> ""

Temp = GetHundreds(Right(MyNumber, 3))

If Temp <> "" Then Dollars = Temp & Place(Count) & Dollars

If Len(MyNumber) > 3 Then

MyNumber = Left(MyNumber, Len(MyNumber) - 3)

Else

MyNumber = ""

End If

Count = Count + 1

Loop

Select Case Dollars

Case ""

Dollars = "No Dollars"

Case "One"

Dollars = "One Dollar"

Case Else

Dollars = Dollars & " Dollars"

End Select

Select Case Cents

Case ""

Cents = " and No Cents"

Case "One"

Cents = " and One Cent"

Case Else

Cents = " and " & Cents & " Cents"

End Select

SpellNumber = Dollars & Cents

End Function

' Converts a number from 100-999 into text

Function GetHundreds(ByVal MyNumber)

Dim Result As String

If Val(MyNumber) = 0 Then Exit Function

MyNumber = Right("000" & MyNumber, 3)

' Convert the hundreds place.

If Mid(MyNumber, 1, 1) <> "0" Then

Result = GetDigit(Mid(MyNumber, 1, 1)) & " Hundred "

End If

' Convert the tens and ones place.

If Mid(MyNumber, 2, 1) <> "0" Then

Result = Result & GetTens(Mid(MyNumber, 2))

Else

Result = Result & GetDigit(Mid(MyNumber, 3))

End If

GetHundreds = Result

End Function

' Converts a number from 10 to 99 into text.

Function GetTens(TensText)

Dim Result As String

Result = ""           ' Null out the temporary function value.

If Val(Left(TensText, 1)) = 1 Then   ' If value between 10-19...

Select Case Val(TensText)

Case 10: Result = "Ten"

Case 11: Result = "Eleven"

Case 12: Result = "Twelve"

Case 13: Result = "Thirteen"

Case 14: Result = "Fourteen"

Case 15: Result = "Fifteen"

Case 16: Result = "Sixteen"

Case 17: Result = "Seventeen"

Case 18: Result = "Eighteen"

Case 19: Result = "Nineteen"

Case Else

End Select

Else                                 ' If value between 20-99...

Select Case Val(Left(TensText, 1))

Case 2: Result = "Twenty "

Case 3: Result = "Thirty "

Case 4: Result = "Forty "

Case 5: Result = "Fifty "

Case 6: Result = "Sixty "

Case 7: Result = "Seventy "

Case 8: Result = "Eighty "

Case 9: Result = "Ninety "

Case Else

End Select

Result = Result & GetDigit _

(Right(TensText, 1))  ' Retrieve ones place.

End If

GetTens = Result

End Function

' Converts a number from 1 to 9 into text.

Function GetDigit(Digit)

Select Case Val(Digit)

Case 1: GetDigit = "One"

Case 2: GetDigit = "Two"

Case 3: GetDigit = "Three"

Case 4: GetDigit = "Four"

Case 5: GetDigit = "Five"

Case 6: GetDigit = "Six"

Case 7: GetDigit = "Seven"

Case 8: GetDigit = "Eight"

Case 9: GetDigit = "Nine"

Case Else: GetDigit = ""

End Select

End Function

Yuck.

Others on the internet will suggest you can use a recursive LAMBDA function, let’s call it NUMBERTEXT, which can do something similar up to a given value, e.g.

=LAMBDA(num, LET(singleDigits, {"Zero","One","Two","Three","Four","Five","Six","Seven","Eight","Nine"}, teens, {"Ten","Eleven","Twelve","Thirteen","Fourteen","Fifteen","Sixteen","Seventeen","Eighteen","Nineteen"}, tens, {"","","Twenty","Thirty","Forty","Fifty","Sixty","Seventy","Eighty","Ninety"}, units, MOD(num, 10), tensPlace, MOD(INT(num / 10), 10), hundredsPlace, MOD(INT(num / 100), 10), thousandsPlace, MOD(INT(num / 1000), 1000), millionsPlace, INT(num / 1000000), words, IF(num < 10, INDEX(singleDigits, num + 1), IF(num < 20, INDEX(teens, num - 9), IF(num < 100, INDEX(tens, tensPlace + 1) & IF(units <> 0, "-" & INDEX(singleDigits, units + 1), ""), IF(num < 1000, INDEX(singleDigits, hundredsPlace + 1) & " Hundred" & IF(MOD(num, 100) <> 0, " " & NUMBERTEXT(MOD(num, 100)), ""), IF(num < 1000000, NUMBERTEXT(INT(num / 1000)) & " Thousand" & IF(MOD(num, 1000) <> 0, " " & NUMBERTEXT(MOD(num, 1000)), ""), IF(num < 10000000, NUMBERTEXT(millionsPlace) & " Million" & IF(MOD(num, 1000000) <> 0, " " & NUMBERTEXT(MOD(num, 1000000)), ""), "Number out of range")))))), words))

Nice.

I have something much simpler and mine even remembers adding words such as “and”:

Assuming the formula is in cell B2 (as above):

=SUBSTITUTE(TRANSLATE(BAHTTEXT(B2),"th","en")," baht","")

How cool is that?

BAHTTEXT is a truly random function in Excel that converts a number to Thai text and adds a suffix of "Baht".  You can change the Baht format to a different style in the Excel desktop application by using Regional and Language Options (Windows Start menu, Control Panel).  It employs the following syntax to operate:

BAHTTEXT(number)

The BAHTTEXT function has the following argument only:

• number: this is required and represents a number you want to convert to text, or a reference to a cell containing a number, or a formula that evaluates to a number.

So, I thought why not use the new TRANSLATE function to translate Thai to English (or any other language you wish)?

For those not familiar with this brand new function, suppose you have the following text in cell A1

"Hello, World!"

and you want to translate it to Spanish.  You can use the TRANSLATE function as follows:

=TRANSLATE(A1, "en", "es")

In this example, the source language is English (en) and the target language is Spanish (es).  The translated text, "Hola mundo!" will be displayed in the cell where you entered the formula.

Alternatively, you may just type the text in, viz.

We can take this idea with BAHTTEXT:

Then, all you need to do is remove “baht” from the text at the end (I use the SUBSTITUTE function to do this).

Simple!

Word to the Wise

Before everyone starts cheering from the rooftops, there are some issues.  Some numbers don’t seem to work (e.g. 10,014 and those with decimals) – but hey, it’s a start and greater minds will bulldoze these scenarios in time.  Also, I should point out that TRANSLATE is not yet available in all versions of Excel.  At the time of writing, this function is only available to Beta Channel users of Excel 365 running:

• Windows: Version 2407 (Build 16.0.17808.20000) or later
• Mac: 16.87 (Build 24062430) or later.

But it’s coming!!