I have tried the function SPLIT with the argument "" and it does not work.

I have a list that is phylogenetic code, so in the source file it's structured like: 10??12103??? etc., and I want to insert it into a Google sheet and split it to line up with some precoded materials for other taxa.

2 Answers 2


SPLIT will work:


Here, SPLIT views the split character (i.e, "?") as the same whether there is 1, or whether there are 500 of them in a row.

Of course, this can be applied to an entire column as well:


Your post shows "?" as the non-numeric characters. However, you may simply have meant that those question marks stand for any of various non-numeric characters. In that case, use this:


...or for the whole column...


Each line of your data file is 12 characters long, and consists of four elements: two digits, twp question marks, five digits and three question marks. The question marks are separators.

SPLIT is not a good option in this case because the separators are not consistent. Try MID instead.

  • =value(mid(A1,1,2)) - will return the first two characters
  • =value(mid(A1,5,5)) - will return the five character sequence

If you use MID alone, it will return a string. I have wrapped the formula in the VALUE function in order to return a value. You can ignore this if the string is all you need.

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