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Excel LEFT Function


LEFT Function

The LEFT function is used to retrieve a chosen amount of characters, counting from the left side of an Excel cell. The chosen number has to be greater than 0 and is set to 1 by default.

It is typed =LEFT

If you want to use the function on a single cell, write:

=LEFT(cell)

If you want to use the function on a range of cells, write:

=LEFT(start cell:end cell)

How to Use LEFT Function

To retrieve values from the left side of an Excel cell, use LEFT.


Step 1) Start the LEFT function
  1. Select a cell E2
  2. Type =LEFT
  3. Double click the LEFT command

Copy Values
Follow along the tutorial by trying it yourself!

Copy the values in the example above and try it on your own!

Step 2) Enter values to the LEFT function
  1. Select a cell (A2)
  2. Hit enter

=LEFT(A2) uses the default funcion of LEFT and retrieves the first symbol from the A2 cell.


Excel Skills for Business Specialization

How to Use the LEFT Function with a Defined Length of Characters

Learn to use =LEFT to get more than one character.

Step 1) Start the LEFT function
  1. Select a cell E2
  2. Type =LEFT
  3. Double click the LEFT command

Note: The different parts of the function are separated by a symbol, like comma , or semicolon ;

The symbol depends on your Language Settings.

Step 2) Select cells and set the number of characters
  1. Enter the cell name (A2) and define the length of characters you want to retrieve, using a , as a delimiter (A2,3)
  2. Hit enter

The function returns the first 3 characters from cell A2.

How to use the LEFT Function on a Range of Cells

Step 1) Start the LEFT function
  1. Select a cell E2
  2. Type =LEFT
  3. Double click the LEFT command

Step 2) Select cells and number of characters
  1. Select the cells (A2:A4) and define the length of characters you want to retrieve, using a , as a delimiter (A2:A4,3)
  2. Hit enter

The function returns the first 3 characters from each cell within the range A2:A4.