How to Remove Leading or Trailing Spaces from a Data Set

Minitab Blog Editor | 25 March, 2016

Topics: Data Analysis

Leading and trailing spaces in a data set are like termites in your house. If you don’t realize they are there and you don’t get rid of them, they’re going to wreak havoc.

Here are a few easy ways to remove these pesky characters with Minitab Statistical Software prior to analysis.

Data Import

If you’re importing data from Excel, a text file, or some other file type:

  1. Choose File > Open and select your Excel file, text file, etc.
  2. Click Options and select Remove nonprintable characters and extra spaces.
  3. Click OK.

The Calculator

Suppose you already have your data in Minitab, located in column C1:

  1. Choose Calc > Calculator.
  2. In Store result in variable, enter a blank column (e.g. C5), or you can overwrite an existing column.
  3. In Expression, enter TRIM(C1).
  4. Click OK.

If you also want to remove all non-printable characters using the Calculator, CLEAN is available as well.


And that’s all there is to it.