Get First and Last Word

#1. Extract First Word

Extracting the first word from a text string is much easier than extracting the last word.

For this, we can create a formula by combining two different text functions, that’s SEARCH and LEFT.

Let’s understand this with an example.

In the below table, we have a list of names which includes the first and the last name. And now from this, we need to extract the first name which the first word in the cell.

data to get last and first name min

And the formula to get the first name from above column is:

=LEFT(A2,SEARCH(“ ”,A2)-1)

This simply returns the first name which is the first word from the text.

get first word from full name min

How it works

In the above example, we have used a combination of SEARCH (It can search for a text string in another text string) and LEFT (It can extract a text from the left side).

This formula works in two different parts.

formula combination of left and search to get first word from a text string from a cell in excel min

In the first part, SEARCH function finds the position of the space in the text and returns a number from which you have deducted one to get the position of the last character of the first word.

how combination of search and left works to get first word from a text string from a cell in excel min

In the second part, using the number returned by SEARCH function, LEFT function extracts the first word from the cell.

first word from a text string from a cell in excel return by this formula min

#2. Extract last Word

Getting the last word from a text string can be tricky for you, but once you understand the entire formula it will much easier to use it in future.

So, to extract the last word from a cell you need to combine RIGHT, SUBSTITUTE and REPT.

And the formula will be:

=TRIM(RIGHT(SUBSTITUTE(A2," ",REPT(" ",LEN(A2))),LEN(A2)))

formula combination to get last word from a text string from a cell in excel min

This formula returns the last name from the cell which is the last word and works same even if you have more than two words in a cell.

How it works

Again, you need to break down this formula to understand how does it work.

how formula combination to get last word from a text string from a cell in excel works min

In the first part, SUBSTITUTE function replaces every single space with the spaces equals to the length of the text.

first part of formula to get last word from a text string from a cell in excel min

The text becomes double in length with extra spaces and looks something like this.

After that, the RIGHT function will extracts characters from the right side equals to the original length of the text.

second part of formula to get last word from a text string from a cell in excel min
third part of formula to get last word from a text string from a cell in excel min

Sample File

Conclusion

By using above formulas you can easily get the first and the last word from a text string.

The formula for the first word is super easy and for the last word is bit tricky but you need to understand it once in starting.

I hope you found this tip helpful.

Now tell me one thing.

Do you have any other method to get first and last from a string?

Please share your views with me in the comment section, I’d love to hear from you. And, please don’t forget to share this tip with your friends.