Text to column can be used to format or parse text..
Select a column which needs to be parsed. Only one row at a time can be parsed. Under Data tab click on the "Text to Column". Two options will appear. Delimited or Fixed With.
Delimited - Allows to parse text using predetermined separator such as comma or semi column. A custom separated can be entered into an "other" field.
Fixed With - Allows to parse text by using a ruler. It will parse text within cells based on their position within cell.
The best way to format cells is through text to column. Excel will not always recognize formatting changes made though "Format" window. This is especially true for dates.
To format, select a column and select Delimited when opening Text to Column window. Leave all options blank on the second window and click next. On the third window select how you want the cells to be formatted genera, date or text. Click finish.