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How To Remove First Character From a Cell Using Quick Methods

how to remove first character from a cell using quick methodsYesterday, one of my colleagues, who is really passionate to learn Excel these days asked me “do you know how to remove first character from a cell?

I told him a small formula (which was easy) for that, but he was not satisfied & want another method.

And after that, I told him about five different methods to remove first character from a cell.

But he was confused that which method is easy (All methods were easy).

Even I have created a small UDF with VBA to make it super easy to remove first character from a cell.

So, you have to do something for me.

I have listed all the methods here. I hope you’ll give me the answer for that.

Five Super Quick Method

  1. Combining RIGHT Function & LEN Function
  2. Using REPLACE Function
  3. MID Function with LEN Function
  4. By TEXT To COLUMN
  5. With UDF

Try each method & tell which one is perfect for you.

Combining RIGHT Function & LEN Function

Using RIGHT & LEN is most suitable to remove the first character from a cell.

In below example, I have a list of roll numbers where I have alphabet “H” as a prefix.

Here I want to remove that “H” and only want rest of the numbers.

I have combined RIGHT with LEN to remove the first character.

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

how to remove first character from a cell using text to column with right len

How does this work?

Here LEN function will first count the total characters from a cell & then RIGHT function will extract characters from right side leaving the first character.

This formula is dynamic.

Using REPLACE Function

And, if you want to use a single formula for that you can use REPLACE Function.

In below example, I have used REPLACE function to remove the first character from the cell.

how to remove first character from a cell using text to column with replace

I have simply replaced the first character with an empty character.

=REPLACE(A2,1,1,””)

How does this work?

REPLACE function is a simple but powerful function which you can use to replace a character from a cell which is on a specific position.

Read more about it.

MID Function with LEN Function

You can also remove the first character from a cell with MID & LEN.

In below example, I have used a combination of MID & LEN to get characters from a cell except first most character.

=MID(A2,2, LEN(A2))

how to remove first character from a cell using text to column with mid len

How does this work?

In this combination, MID function will start extracting from second character & LEN Function will tell MID function to extract total numbers character after skipping first one.

By TEXT To COLUMN

You can also use TEXT TO COLUMN to remove first character from a cell.

It is super easy if you want to remove the first character from a cell for just a one time.

Here are the steps.

  • Select your column or range of cells.

how to remove first character from a cell using text to column select data

  • Go to -> Data -> Data Tools -> Text To Column.

how to remove first character from a cell using text to column click on

  • Select “Fixed Width” & click next.

how to remove first character from a cell using text to column select fixed width

  • In data preview, click between first & second character. It will insert a vertical line between both characters. Click next.

how to remove first character from a cell using text to column click between

  • From data column format, select format type you want to apply. Click finish.

how to remove first character from a cell using text to column click finish

  • Now, you have two columns, one has the first characters & other is with rest of the characters.

how to remove first character from a cell using text to column delete first column

  • Just delete your first column.

This method is not dynamic but worth to try if you want to delete your first character from a cell without using a formula.

With UDF

Finally, I have created a small UDF with help of VBA.

It will exactly do the same which we can do with all above-mentioned methods.

Here is the code.

Public Function removeFirstC(rng As String, cnt As Long)

removeFirstC = Right(rng, Len(rng) - cnt)

End Function

And, follow these steps.

  • Open your visual basic editor.
  • Insert a module & paste above code into it.

how toremove first character from a cell using VBA UDF insert code

  • Come back to your worksheet.
  • Enter function “removeFirstC”. This function has two arguments.
    1. Select the cell from which you want to remove characters.
    2. The number of characters you want to remove from the left side.

how to remove first character from a cell using text to column using VBA

This UDF is pretty cool. You can remove any number of leftmost characters from a cell.

Apart from all above methods, you can also use find & replace option remove a character from a cell. It has a limited scope for that but you can give it try.

Last Words

You know the best part of all the methods I have mentioned here is, they are super easy to use.

And, if you ask me, I love to use UDF for that.

But you can use any of these methods which you find perfect for you.

Over To You

Download this sample file from here.

Try all these methods & tell me which one is perfect you or which one you like most.

And, apart from these methods if you have any other method to remove first character from a cell, please don’t forget to share with me in the comment box.



  • ratanak

    Nice,I often use the formula as you said in 4 methods,now I got one more UDF,thanks puneet

    • Puneet Gogia

      Yup, UDF is pretty cool.

  • Torstein S Johnsen

    I find the mid-function the best!

    • Puneet Gogia

      That’s great. Torstein.

  • Syed Waqar Hussain Shah

    I think method 1 is very simple and easy for all levels of users