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Excel LEFT function

Author: Sun Last Modified: 2019-12-13

doc fixed function 1


The LEFT function extracts the given number of characters from the left side of a supplied string. For instance, =LEFT("123-234",3) extracts the first 3 characters from the left side of "123-234" and returns "123".

Syntax and arguments

Formula syntax



  • Text: Required, the string you want to extract the given number of characters from its left side.
  • Num_chars: it specifies the number of characters you extract from left side of the given text string. If it is omitted, it is assumed to 1, which means to extract 1 character from left side of the give text string. And it must be greater than zero, if it is zero, the LEFT function returns blank, if it is smaller than zero, the LEFT function returns #VALUE! error. If it is greater than the length of the given text string, the LEFT function returns all of the string.

Return Value

The LEFT function extracts string from left of the text string.

Usage and Examples

String Num_Chars Result  Formula Description
124-234-34 4 124 =LEFT(B3,C3) Extract 4 characters from left side of B3
Apple Omit A =LEFT(B4) Extract 1(defaults) character from left side of B4

Download sample


Relative Functions:

  • Excel DOLLAR Function
    The CHAR function is used to convert a number to text in the currency formatting, with the decimals rounded to the given number of decimal places.

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

  • Excel CODE Function
    The CODE function returns a numeric code of a character or the first character in a given text string cell.

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