Excel Left Function

This post will guide you how to use Excel LEFT function with syntax and examples in Microsoft excel.


The Excel LEFT function returns a substring (a specified number of the characters) from a text string, starting from the leftmost character.

The LEFT function is a build-in function in Microsoft Excel and it is categorized as a Text Function.

The LEFT function is available in Excel 2016, Excel 2013, Excel 2010, Excel 2007, Excel 2003, Excel XP, Excel 2000, Excel 2011 for Mac.


The syntax of the LEFT function is as below:

= LEFT(text,[num_chars])

Where the LEFT function arguments are:
Text -This is a required argument. The text string that you want to extract from.
num_chars-This is an optional argument. It will specify the number of characters that you want to extract from Text string.

Note: The Num_chars value must be greater than or equal to zero. If Num_chars is greather that the length of text string, it will return all of text string. If Num_chars value is omitted, it is set to be 1 by default.


The below examples will show you how to use Excel LEFT Text function to extract the leftmost substring from a text string.

#1 To extract the leftmost 4 characters in the B1 cell, just using formula: =LEFT(B1,4).

excel left function example1

More LEFT Function Examples

  • Split Text and Numbers
    If you want to split text and numbers from one cell into two different cells, you can use a formula based on the FIND function, the LEFT function or the RIGHT function and the MIN function. .…


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