LEFT function

The Excel LEFT function is a powerful tool that allows you to extract a specified number of characters from the beginning (left side) of a text string. It’s incredibly useful for various tasks like splitting data, cleaning text, and more.


LEFT(text, num_chars)


textThe text string from which you want to extract characters.
num_charsThe number of characters you want to extract from the left side of the text string.

How to Use

The Excel LEFT function is straightforward to use. Here are some examples to help you understand how it works:

Example 1:

This formula will return “Hello” because it extracts the first 5 characters from the left of the text string “Hello, World!”.

Example 2:

Here, the function extracts the first 6 characters from “Excel Functions,” giving you “Excel ” (with a space at the end).

Example 3 (Optional):

Since the “num_chars” argument is greater than the length of the text, it will return the entire text string, “12345.” You can see that the “num_chars” argument is optional, and if it’s longer than the text, it will not cause an error.

The LEFT function is useful in various scenarios, such as when you need to extract prefixes from product codes, separate first names from full names, or work with date formatting. It’s a versatile tool that can help you manipulate text data with ease.

Tomasz Decker is an Excel specialist, skilled in data analysis and financial modeling.