Note: The other languages of the website are Google-translated. Back to English
English English

 How to quickly find the position of first letter (alpha) from string in Excel?

For instance, here is a list of text strings which are mixed with numbers and letters in a sheet, and to find the position of first letter (alpha character) as below screenshot shown maybe a troublesome problem for you. However in this article, I introduce some tricks on solving this job quickly for you.

Here are some formulas to help you to find the position of first letter in a string.

Select a blank cell which you will place the result, here take B2 for instance, and enter this formula =MATCH(TRUE,ISERROR(VALUE(MID(A2,ROW(INDIRECT("1:"&LEN(A2))),1))),0), hold Shift + Ctrl, and press Enter key to get the result. Then click at B2 and drag auto fill handle to over the cells which need to apply this formula. See screenshot:
doc find first letter position 2

Tip: with above formula, if there is no any alpha character, it will display an error value.
doc find first letter position 3

In the formula, A2 is the cell you want to find the first alpha’s position, you can change it as you need.

If you usually apply Defined Function, here also has a Defined Function to help you find the first alpha and return to its position.

1. Press Alt + F11 keys to open the Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications window.

2. Click Insert > Module, and paste below code to the Module script.

VBA: Find position of first letter

Function FirstNonDigit(xStr As String) As Long
    Dim xChar As Integer
    Dim xPos As Integer
    Dim I As Integer
    For I = 1 To Len(xStr)
        xChar = Asc(Mid(xStr, I, 1))
        If (xChar <= 90 And xChar >= 65) Or (xChar <= 122 And xChar >= 97) Then
            xPos = I
            Exit For
        End If
    FirstNonDigit = xPos
End Function

doc find first letter position 5

3. Save the code and go back to the sheet, select a blank cell and enter this formula =FirstNonDigit(A15), press Enter key, and you can find the position of first alpha character.
doc find first letter position 6

But in some other cases, you may want to extract only alpha characters from a mixed string as below screenshot shown. In this situation, you can apply the Remove Characters utility of Kutools for Excel – a handy and helpful add in tool to quickly get it done.
doc find first letter position 7

Kutools for Excel, with more than 300 handy functions, makes your jobs more easier. 

After free installing Kutools for Excel, please do as below:

1. Make a copy for the strings you want to extract alpha characters from. See screenshot:
doc find first letter position 8

2. Then select the copied strings and click Kutools > Text > Remove Characters. See screenshot:
doc find first letter position 12

3. And in the prompt Remove Characters dialog, check Non-alpha option only, you can preview the removed results as you check in the Preview box. See screenshot:
doc find first letter position 10

4. Click Ok or Apply. Now only the alpha characters are extracted.
doc find first letter position 11

The Best Office Productivity Tools

Kutools for Excel Solves Most of Your Problems, and Increases Your Productivity by 80%

  • Reuse: Quickly insert complex formulas, charts and anything that you have used before; Encrypt Cells with password; Create Mailing List and send emails...
  • Super Formula Bar (easily edit multiple lines of text and formula); Reading Layout (easily read and edit large numbers of cells); Paste to Filtered Range...
  • Merge Cells/Rows/Columns without losing Data; Split Cells Content; Combine Duplicate Rows/Columns... Prevent Duplicate Cells; Compare Ranges...
  • Select Duplicate or Unique Rows; Select Blank Rows (all cells are empty); Super Find and Fuzzy Find in Many Workbooks; Random Select...
  • Exact Copy Multiple Cells without changing formula reference; Auto Create References to Multiple Sheets; Insert Bullets, Check Boxes and more...
  • Extract Text, Add Text, Remove by Position, Remove Space; Create and Print Paging Subtotals; Convert Between Cells Content and Comments...
  • Super Filter (save and apply filter schemes to other sheets); Advanced Sort by month/week/day, frequency and more; Special Filter by bold, italic...
  • Combine Workbooks and WorkSheets; Merge Tables based on key columns; Split Data into Multiple Sheets; Batch Convert xls, xlsx and PDF...
  • More than 300 powerful features. Supports Office/Excel 2007-2019 and 365. Supports all languages. Easy deploying in your enterprise or organization. Full features 30-day free trial. 60-day money back guarantee.
kte tab 201905

Office Tab Brings Tabbed interface to Office, and Make Your Work Much Easier

  • Enable tabbed editing and reading in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Publisher, Access, Visio and Project.
  • Open and create multiple documents in new tabs of the same window, rather than in new windows.
  • Increases your productivity by 50%, and reduces hundreds of mouse clicks for you every day!
officetab bottom
Comments (4)
No ratings yet. Be the first to rate!
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site
"Find position of first alpha in string with formulas" : that formula MATCH(TRUE,ISERROR(VALUE(MID(A2,ROW(INDIRECT("1:"&LEN(A2))),1))),0) is wrong if you've got a space in the cell a space an alpha?!?
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site
the visual basic FirstNonDigit is wrong too: it takes space or ? or... as letters, bad bad bad
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site
thanks VBA good, but suppose if decimal number comes like 123.45GB ?
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site
Hi,slowlearner, I have updated the code in the tutorial, now it will only find the position of first alphabetical character (excluding symbols and numbers). Please try again.
There are no comments posted here yet
Leave your comments
Posting as Guest
Rate this post:
0   Characters
Suggested Locations