Excel formula: Convert letter to number

Sometimes, you want to convert a to 1, b to 2, c to 3 and so on in Excel sheet. However, to convert them one by one is a waste of time. In this tutorial, I introduce some Excel formulas to solve this problem.
doc abbreviate words 1

Convert single letter to a number in each cell

To convert single letter to a number in each Excel cell, you can use below formula.

Generic formula:



Cell_reference: the cell that contains the letter you want to convert to number.

How this formula work

Take an example to explain the formula. Here you will convert the letter in cell C3 to number. Please use this formula.


Press Enter key.
convert letter to number 2


INDIRECT functiin: this function used to convert a text string to a valid reference. Here INDIRECT(C3&1) you can see it as these:

COLUMN function: the COLUMN function returns the number of column of the given reference. Now the formula is COLUMN(s1) which returns 19.


1. This formula returns the number of column, which means that if there are more than one letter in cell, it will return as below example shown.
convert letter to number 3

2. The formula is case insensitive.

Convert several letters to a string of numbers in each cell

If you want to convert letters in each cell to numbers as below screenshot shown, you need a complex array formula.
convert letter to number 4

Generic formula:



Cell_refer: the cell that you want to convert the letters to numbers.
Rtable:a table with two columns, one lists all letters, one lists the relative numbers.

How this formula work

Supposing you want to convert the letters in range B3:B8 to numbers, please do as these:

Firstly, create a table to list the all letters and their relative numbers.

Then select the table range and go to the Name box (beside the Formula bar) to give it a ranged name, here the range name is Rtable. see screenshot:
convert letter to number 5

Now use this formula:


Press Enter key, all first letters of each word in cell A1 is extracted.
convert letter to number 6


ROW(INDIRECT("1:"&LEN(B3))): the ROW function returns the number of row, there is the array formula, then it returns {1;2;3}. MID(B3,ROW(INDIRECT("1:"&LEN(B3))),1): the MID function returns the character in the specific position of the given string. This formula can be seen as below
= {"a";"c";"d"}

VLOOKUP(T(IF(1,MID(B3,ROW(INDIRECT("1:"&LEN(B3))),1))),Rtable,2,0): the VLOOKUP function is used to find the matched numbers of "a", "c","d" in the second column of range Rtable. Then it returns {1;3;4}.

TEXTJOIN("",1,VLOOKUP(T(IF(1,MID(B3,ROW(INDIRECT("1:"&LEN(B3))),1))),Rtable,2,0)): the TEXTJOIN function is a new function in Excel 2019 and 365, it is used to concatenated all texts with a delimiter. Here it returns 134.


This formula is case insensitive.


Supposing a=1,b=2,c=3,d=4, you can use the formula as below:


Press Enter key.
convert letter to number 6

This formula is case sensitive.

Sample File

doc sampleClick to download sample file

Relative Formulas

Relative Functions

  • INDIRECT function
    Convert a text string to a valid reference.
  • COLUMN function
    Return the number of column which formula appears or the column number of given reference.
  • ROW function
    Return row number of a reference.
  • MID
    Return the specific characters from the middle of text string .

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