How to use LEFT Function in Excel

LEFT Function can extract specified character(s) from a cell/string starting from the first (left) character.

You just have to specify the numbers of characters which you want to extract from the text string.

In the below example, we have extracted the first four characters from the cell where we have “Jack Brown”.

how to use excel left function

Syntax

LEFT(text,num_chars)

  1. text A text or number from which you want to extract some characters.
  2. num_char Number of characters you want to extract.

Examples

In the below example, we have extracted the first five digits from the text string using LEFT by specifying the number of characters to extract.

extract excel champs using left function

In the below example, we have used LEN and FIND along with the LEFT to create a formula which extracts the name from the cell.

extract first name using left function in excel

It first counts total length of the text string and then finds the position of space between first and last name. And in the end, it extracts the first name from the test string.

Remember

  1. num_char can be zero or greater than zero.
  2. If you skip specifying num_char, it will assume 1 as default.
  3. You can’t refer to more than one cell. If you do that it will return the characters from the top right cell of the selected range.
  4. It can work with numbers also in the same manner.
  5. It can also work as an array formula.
  6. With negative num_char, it will return an error.
  7. You can also enter a text string directly into the formula.

Sample File