Excel > Functions

LEFT Function

The LEFT function is used to extract a specific number of characters from the start of a cell.

This can be useful to when needing to remove unwanted characters in a cell that appear on the right of the cells content. This can happen as a result of importing data into Excel from another application or database.

The syntax for the LEFT function is:

=LEFT(text, [num_chars])

Argument

Purpose

Text

The data containing the characters you want to extract

Num_chars

The number of characters you want to extract

If omitted, it extracts only the first character

The example below shows the LEFT function being used to extract the first 2 characters from the content of cell A1.

LEFT function being used to extract cell characters

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