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Get or extract the first word from text string in Excel

Author: Xiaoyang Last Modified: 2020-01-10

To extract all the first words from a list of text strings which are separated by spaces, the LEFT and FIND function in Excel can do you a favor.


Get or extract all the first words from text strings in Excel

To deal with this job, you should combine the LEFT and FIND functions together, the generic syntax is:

=LEFT(text,FIND(" ",text)-1)
  • text: The text string or cell value that you want to use.

1. Please enter or copy the below formula into a blank cell:

=LEFT(A2,FIND(" ",A2)-1)

2. Then, copy this formula to other cells that you want to use this formula, and all first words in the text strings have been extracted, see screenshot:


Explanation of the formula:

FIND(" ",A2)-1: The FIND function is used to get the position of first occurrence of the space character, and subtract 1 to return the position of the last character of the first word.

LEFT(A2,FIND(" ",A2)-1): The LEFT function extracts the left-most characters based on the number of characters that returned by the FIND function.


Note: If there is only one word in the cell, this formula will return the #VALUE! error value as following screenshot shown:

To fix this problem, you should embed the IFERROR function into the formula as this:

=IFERROR(LEFT(A2,FIND(" ",A2)-1),A2)


Relative functions used:

  • FIND:
  • The FIND function is used to find a string within another string, and returns the starting position of the string inside another one.
  • LEFT:
  • The LEFT function extracts the given number of characters from the left side of a supplied string.

More articles:

  • Extract Nth Word From Text String In Excel
  • If you have a list of text strings or sentences, now, you want to extract the specific nth word from the list as below screenshot shown. This article, I will introduce some methods for solving this job in Excel.
  • Extract Last Line Of Text From A Multi-Line Cell
  • To extract the last line of text from a text string which is separated by line breaks, normally, there is no direct way for you to solve this. This article, I will introduce a formula to deal with this task in Excel.

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