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Excel Formula Extract path from file name

If you want to extract the path from full path and file name, you can use a formula which combines the LEFT, FIND, SUBSTITUTE and LEN functions to handle it. The formula is a little long, but this tutorial will explain how the formula works for you.
doc extract extension from file name 5

Generic formula:



Path: the cell reference or text string contains file path and file name.

How this formula work

Take an instance: to extract the path from cell B3, which contains full path and the file name, please use below formula:


Press Enter key to extract the path from the cell.
doc extract path from full path 2


To extract the path from the full path and file name, firstly, the formula counts the number of character “\” by the LEN and SUBSTITUTE functions, then replace the last “\” with a special character “?” by the SUBSTITUTE function, finally, find the special character “?” and extract the path by using the FIND and LEFT functions.

LEN function returns the number of characters in the text string.

SUBSTITUTE function replaces old text with a new one.

The formula LEN(B3)-LEN(SUBSTITUTE(B3,"\","")) counts the number of characters "\".


doc extract path from full path 3

SUBSTITUTE(B3,"\","?",LEN(B3)-LEN(SUBSTITUTE(B3,"\",""))) replaces the fourth "\" with "?".


doc extract path from full path 4

FIND function is used to find a string within another string, and returns the starting position of the string inside the other one.

The formula FIND("?",SUBSTITUTE(B3,"\","?",LEN(B3)-LEN(SUBSTITUTE(B3,"\","")))) finds the position of “?” in the text string "C:\Users\AddinTestWin10\Documents?description.xlsx".


doc extract path from full path 5

LEFT function extracts substring with fixed length from left side of the given text.


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Sample File

doc sampleClick to download sample file

Relative Formulas

Relative Functions

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