Excel LEFT Function

What is the LEFT function in Excel?


The LEFT function is one of the (TEXT) functions of Excel. It returns the specified number of

characters from the start of a text string.

We can find this function in TEXT of insert function Tab.

How to use LEFT function in excel

  1. Click on empty cell (like F5 )
1

2. Click on fx on the below of font word (or press shift+F3)

3. In insert function tab you will see all functions

4. Select TEXT category

5. Select LEFT function

6. Then select ok

7. In function arguments Tab you will see LEFT function

8. Text is the text string containing the characters you want to extract

9. Num_chars specifies how many characters you want LEFT to extract; 1 if omitted

10. You will see the results in formula result section

Examples of LEFT function in Excel

Sure, here are 10 examples of how to use the LEFT function in Excel:

  1. To extract the first three characters from a cell containing a text string:




=LEFT(A2,3)
  1. To extract the first character from a cell containing a text string:




=LEFT(A2,1)
  1. To extract the first four characters from a cell containing a date:




=LEFT(TEXT(A2,"mm/dd/yyyy"),4)
  1. To extract the first word from a cell containing a sentence:




=LEFT(A2,FIND(" ",A2)-1)
  1. To extract the first letter from each word in a cell containing a sentence:




=LEFT(A2,FIND(" ",A2&" ")-1)&MID(A2,FIND(" ",A2)+1,FIND(" ",A2,FIND(" ",A2)+1)-FIND(" ",A2)-1)&RIGHT(A2,LEN(A2)-FIND("*",SUBSTITUTE(A2," ","*",LEN(A2)-LEN(SUBSTITUTE(A2," ","")))))
  1. To extract the first character after a specific delimiter in a cell containing a text string:




=LEFT(RIGHT(A2,LEN(A2)-FIND("-",A2)),1)
  1. To extract the first two characters from the second word in a cell containing a sentence:




=LEFT(MID(A2,FIND(" ",A2)+1,LEN(A2)),2)
  1. To extract the first three characters from a cell containing a number:




=LEFT(TEXT(A2,"#"),3)
  1. To extract the first five characters from a cell containing a URL:




=LEFT(A2,5)
  1. To extract the first character from each cell in a range of cells:




=LEFT(A2:A10,1)

How do I use the LEFT function in Excel?

Sure, I can help you understand how to use the LEFT function in Excel!

The LEFT function is used to extract a specific number of characters from the beginning (leftmost) side of a text string. The syntax for the LEFT function is as follows:

=LEFT(text, num_chars)

  • text is the text string that you want to extract characters from.
  • num_chars is the number of characters that you want to extract from the left side of the text string.

Here are some examples of how to use the LEFT function in Excel:

Example 1: Suppose you have a cell (let’s say A1), which contains the text string “Hello World”. To extract the first 5 characters from the left side of this text string, you would use the following formula:

=LEFT(A1, 5)

This will return the result “Hello”.

Example 2: Suppose you have a list of email addresses in column A, and you want to extract only the usernames (the part before the @ symbol) from each email address. You can use the LEFT function with the FIND function to accomplish this. The FIND function is used to find the position of the @ symbol in each email address, and then the LEFT function is used to extract the characters from the left side of the text string up to that position. Here is the formula you would use in cell B1:

=LEFT(A1, FIND("@",A1)-1)

You can then copy this formula down to the rest of the cells in column B to extract the usernames from all the email addresses.

I hope these examples help you understand how to use the LEFT function in Excel!

What is the syntax of the LEFT function in Excel?

The LEFT function in Excel is used to extract a specified number of characters from the beginning (left) of a text string. The syntax of the LEFT function can be explained as follows:

=LEFT(text, [num_chars])

The “text” argument refers to the text string from which you want to extract characters, and the “num_chars” argument specifies the number of characters you want to extract. The “num_chars” argument is optional, and if it is not provided, the LEFT function will return the entire text string.

Here are some examples of how to use the LEFT function:

Example 1: =LEFT(“apple”, 3)

This formula would return “app”, since we are telling the LEFT function to extract the first three characters of the text string “apple”.

Example 2: =LEFT(A1, 5)

If cell A1 contains the text string “banana”, this formula would return “banan”, since we are telling the LEFT function to extract the first five characters of the text in cell A1.

Example 3: =LEFT(“grape”)

This formula would return “grape”, since we have not provided the “num_chars” argument and the LEFT function will return the entire text string “grape”.

Can the LEFT function be used to extract a specific number of characters from a string?

Yes, the LEFT function can be used to extract a specific number of characters from a string. That’s exactly what it is designed for.

To use the LEFT function to extract a specific number of characters from a string, you need to provide two arguments: the text string that you want to extract characters from, and the number of characters that you want to extract.

Here’s an example:

Suppose you have a column of product codes in Excel, and each code consists of four letters followed by a hyphen and then a three-digit number. For example, one code might be “ABCD-123”. If you want to extract just the first four letters of each code, you can use the LEFT function as follows:

=LEFT(A1, 4)

In this formula, A1 refers to the cell containing the product code that you want to extract characters from, and 4 specifies that you want to extract the first four characters of the text string in cell A1.

If you copy this formula down the column, Excel will apply it to each cell in turn, extracting the first four letters from each product code and placing the result in the cell next to the original code.

So, in summary, the LEFT function can be used to extract a specific number of characters from a string by providing the text string and the number of characters to extract as arguments.

Can the LEFT function be used to extract text from the right side of a string?

No, the LEFT function is specifically designed to extract text from the left side of a string. If you need to extract text from the right side of a string, you would use the RIGHT function instead.

The syntax for the RIGHT function is very similar to that of the LEFT function:

=RIGHT(text, [num_chars])

The “text” argument specifies the text string that you want to extract characters from, and the optional “num_chars” argument specifies the number of characters that you want to extract. If the “num_chars” argument is not provided, the RIGHT function will return the entire text string.

Here’s an example of how to use the RIGHT function to extract text from the right side of a string:

Suppose you have a column of email addresses in Excel, and each address ends with the domain name “.com”. For example, one email address might be “[email protected]“. If you want to extract just the domain name from each email address, you can use the RIGHT function as follows:

=RIGHT(A1, 4)

In this formula, A1 refers to the cell containing the email address that you want to extract text from, and 4 specifies that you want to extract the last four characters of the text string in cell A1, which in this case is “.com”.

If you copy this formula down the column, Excel will apply it to each cell in turn, extracting the domain name from each email address and placing the result in the cell next to the original email address.

So, in summary, while the LEFT function cannot be used to extract text from the right side of a string, you can use the RIGHT function instead.

What happens if I try to use the LEFT function on an empty cell or range?

If you try to use the LEFT function on an empty cell or range, the function will return an empty string (” “).

For example, if you have a cell with no data in it, and you apply the LEFT function to that cell as follows:

=LEFT(A1, 3)

The result will be an empty string, because there are no characters for the LEFT function to extract.

Similarly, if you have a range of cells with some empty cells in between, and you apply the LEFT function to that range, any empty cells will result in an empty string being returned.

Here’s an example:

Suppose you have a column of names in Excel, and some of the cells are empty. If you want to extract the first three letters of each name using the LEFT function, you can use the following formula:

=LEFT(A1, 3)

If cell A1 contains the name “John”, this formula will return “Joh”. However, if cell A2 is empty, the formula applied to that cell (i.e., =LEFT(A2, 3)) will return an empty string, since there are no characters in cell A2 for the LEFT function to extract.

In summary, if you try to apply the LEFT function to an empty cell or range, the function will simply return an empty string.

Can the LEFT function be used with nested functions in Excel?

Yes, the LEFT function can be used with nested functions in Excel. Nesting functions simply means using one function as an argument of another function.

Here’s an example of how to use the LEFT function with a nested function:

Suppose you have a column of email addresses in Excel, and you want to extract just the username (i.e., everything before the “@” symbol) from each address. You can do this by nesting the LEFT function inside the FIND function, which is used to locate the position of a specific character within a text string.

The formula would look like this:

=LEFT(A1, FIND(“@”, A1)-1)

In this formula, A1 refers to the cell containing the email address that you want to extract the username from. The FIND function finds the position of the “@” symbol within the text string in cell A1, and then subtracts 1 to exclude the “@” symbol itself. Finally, the LEFT function extracts the number of characters specified by the result of the FIND function, which in this case is the entire username.

If you copy this formula down the column, Excel will apply it to each cell in turn, extracting the username from each email address and placing the result in the cell next to the original email address.

So, in summary, the LEFT function can be used with nested functions in Excel, allowing you to perform more complicated text manipulations and extractions.

Can the LEFT function be used to extract text from a string based on a specific delimiter?

No, the LEFT function is not designed to extract text from a string based on a specific delimiter. To extract text based on a delimiter, you can use the combination of other functions in Excel, such as FIND, SEARCH, and MID.

Here’s an example of how to use these functions to extract text based on a delimiter:

Suppose you have a column of full names in Excel, and you want to extract just the first name from each name, which is separated by a space character. You can use the following formula:

=MID(A1, 1, FIND(” “, A1)-1)

In this formula, A1 refers to the cell containing the full name that you want to extract the first name from. The FIND function finds the position of the space character within the text string in cell A1, and then subtracts 1 to exclude the space character itself. Finally, the MID function extracts the number of characters specified by the result of the FIND function, which in this case is the entire first name.

If you copy this formula down the column, Excel will apply it to each cell in turn, extracting the first name from each full name and placing the result in the cell next to the original name.

So, in summary, while the LEFT function cannot be used to extract text from a string based on a specific delimiter, you can use other functions like FIND, SEARCH, and MID to perform this type of extraction.

How many characters can the LEFT function extract from a string in Excel?

The LEFT function in Excel can extract up to 255 characters from a string. This means that you can specify any number of characters from 1 to 255 for the “num_chars” argument of the function.

Here’s an example:

Suppose you have a column of long text strings in Excel, and you want to extract just the first 100 characters of each string using the LEFT function. You can use the following formula:

=LEFT(A1, 100)

In this formula, A1 refers to the cell containing the text string that you want to extract characters from, and 100 specifies that you want to extract the first 100 characters of the text string in cell A1.

If you copy this formula down the column, Excel will apply it to each cell in turn, extracting the first 100 characters from each text string and placing the result in the cell next to the original string.

It’s important to note that if you try to extract more than 255 characters using the LEFT function, Excel will return an error “#VALUE!”, as it cannot exceed the character limit of 255.

In summary, the LEFT function in Excel can extract up to 255 characters from a string, but if you need to extract more than that, you’ll need to use other functions like MID or RIGHT that can handle larger numbers of characters.

Can the LEFT function be used to extract text from a string based on a specific condition or criteria?

No, the LEFT function is not designed to extract text from a string based on a specific condition or criteria. To extract text based on a condition or criteria, you can use other functions in Excel like IF, SUMIF, and COUNTIF.

Here’s an example of how to use the IF function to extract text based on a condition:

Suppose you have a column of sales data in Excel, with one row for each sale, and you want to extract the name of the salesperson for each sale if the sale amount is greater than $1000. You can use the following formula:

=IF(B1>1000, A1, “”)

In this formula, B1 refers to the cell containing the sale amount for the current row, and A1 refers to the cell containing the name of the salesperson for the current row. The IF function checks whether the sale amount is greater than $1000, and if it is, it returns the name of the salesperson. Otherwise, it returns an empty string.

If you copy this formula down the column, Excel will apply it to each row in turn, extracting the name of the salesperson for each sale with an amount greater than $1000, and leaving the rest of the cells blank.

So, in summary, while the LEFT function cannot be used to extract text from a string based on a specific condition or criteria, you can use other functions like IF, SUMIF, and COUNTIF to perform this type of extraction.

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