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How to limit entries to only allow values that start/End with certain texts in Excel?

This tutorial explains how to use data validation to allow only values that begin with or end with certain characters in Excel.

Only allow texts that start or end with certain characters in cells
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Only allow texts that start or end with certain characters in cells

Please do as follows to only allow texts that start or end with certain characters in cells in Excel.

1. Select the range of cells that you only allow texts that start or end with certain characters.

2. Click Data > Data Validation > Data Validation. See screenshot:

3. In the Data Validation dialog box, please configure as follows.

  • 3.1 Select Custom from the Allow drop-down list;
  • 3.2 For allowing texts that start with certain characters, please copy the below formula into the Formula box;
  • =EXACT(LEFT(A2,3),"KTE")
  • And for allowing texts that end with certain characters, please copy the below formula into the Formula box;
  • =EXACT(RIGHT(A2,3),"KTE")
  • 3.3 Click the OK button.


  • 1. In the formulas, A2 is the first cell of the selected range; 3 is the number of characters you specified, KTE is the start or end text.
  • 2. These two formulas are case-sensitive.
  • 3. If you don’t need case-sensitive, please apply the below CONTIF formulas:
  • Only allow texts that start with KTE in a range of cells
  • =COUNTIF(A2,"KTE*")
  • Only allow texts that end with KTE in a range of cells
  • =COUNTIF(A2,"*KTE")

4. And then, click OK button. From now on, only the text string begins or ends with the centain characters you specified can be entered into the selected cells.

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