If you frequently work with text data in Microsoft Excel, you may come across the need to extract characters from a cell or string starting from the left. This is where the LEFT function in Excel comes in handy. In this tutorial, we will show you how to use the LEFT function in Excel to extract characters or a specified number of characters from the left of a cell or string.
To understand the LEFT function better, let’s apply it to a range of data and explore its arguments. Select the range of data you want to work with. The data range we will be using has text, spaces, numbers, and decimals in it.
To use the LEFT function, type “=LEFT” into a cell and add an open parenthesis. Next, select the cell containing the text or string you want to extract the characters from. Enter a comma and then specify the number of characters you want to extract from the left of the cell or string. Close the parenthesis and press enter.
For example, if we want to extract the first three characters of the text in cell A1, we would type “=LEFT(A1,3)” in a new cell. This would return the first three characters of the text in cell A1.
Remember, the LEFT function calculates spaces as a character. So, if you have spaces between the characters, they will be extracted as well. You can drag the function for autofill to apply it to other cells in the column.
In conclusion, the LEFT function in Excel is a useful tool for extracting characters or a specified number of characters from the left of a cell or string. By following the steps outlined above, you can easily use the LEFT function to extract the data you need from your text strings.