Functions LEFT – RIGHT – MID

Text functions are convenient to extract a part of a cell.

In the following examples, you will see in many examples how to extract a part of a cell

LEFT function

We want to extract the dialing code of cells. The dialing code is the first 3 digits of the phone number. To extract these figures, we will use the function LEFT.

This function is very simple to use because you only need 2 informations: your initial text (generally the reference of a cell) and the number of digit you want to extract (3 in this case).

Function has the following writing:


Function LEFT in Excel
Function LEFT in Excel

RIGHT function

In the same way, if you want to extract the last 4 digits of the phone number, you use this time the function RIGHTas follow:


Function RIGHT in Excel
Function RIGHT in Excel

MID function

It is also possible to extract a part of a string in the middle. To do that, you will use MID function.

To write this function, you must

  • First, put the reference of the cell
  • Second, indicate the position where you want to start the extraction (in our example, the position 9)
  • Third, indicate the number of characters you want to extract (8 characters to return)

So, if you want to extract the mobile phone number of the cell B8 in the cell C8, you will write following formula:


Function MID in Excel
Function MID in Excel

In this example

  • 20 represents the number of characters to start
  • 8 represents the phone number (7 digits + the dash)

Create more complex extract

These 3 functions are very important to extract part of a string. But you can also work with other functions to extract more complex sub-string.

  • LEN counts the number of character in a string
  • SEARCH helps to find a specific character in a string
  • TRIM cleans your string of the unexpected blank

Extract text without formula

If you work with Excel 2013 or a newest version of Excel, you can extract a text without formula. This tool is the FlashFill and you can find more explanation in this article.

But the FlashFill perform the extraction on-the-fly. If your data will be refresh, the extract will not be refresh.

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    • Phil on 24/03/2019 at 13:37
    • Reply


    Shouldn't 3 be 4 in this formula?


    1. True ! Thanks

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