I'm taking an existing store's information and uploading to a new version (Magento). The old site stored the customer name as the whole name John Smith, whereas Magento requires a first and last name field.

I understand that I could separate the name by space, however, some last names are 2-words, Van Smith, and some names are also 2-words, Mary Beth. So the option of splitting the name by the space would not suffice for this solution.

Does anyone have any ideas to solve this? Thanks in advance.

  • It depends a lot on how many customers you have, and how many you need to fix. If you have 10 million customers, buying commercial software that handles this problem might make sense (I'm sure something exists if you can find it, you aren't the first with this issue). If you have 500 customers, a purely manual process will probably take you less time than researching a better solution.
    – nbering
    Commented Sep 2, 2015 at 0:47

2 Answers 2


If you are importing them using a csv you could separate the names in excel. I've done this many times when working with names. Excel function

=LEFT(A2,FIND(" ",A2,1)-1)

=RIGHT(A2,LEN(A2)-FIND(" ",A2,1))

Google Sheets has a split function that is a little easier to use as well.

after separating the names you can scroll the list to see if any are out of place and make adjustments where you have 2-word first and last names. Not sure how many names you have but usually when I'm dealing with a list like this its in the 1,000 names range and it doesn't take too long to go thru.


I exported a customer list FROM Magento (Data Flow Profile) yesterday and it actually combined the first and last name fields. Turns out, splitting the names is not required using the Data Flow Profiles, however, it may be required in some instances. Regardless, I would be in favor of a Magmi add-on for importing customers!

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