How to use Excel LEFT Function with example


In this blog post, we will learn about Excel LEFT function. What is Excel LEFT Function and how can we use this function in our working routine?

Define Excel LEFT function

“Excel LEFT function helps us to retrieve some specific numbers of characters from the given string in a cell.”

Excel LEFT Function

         =LEFT (text, [num_chars]



text- The text is in a cell from which we will extract specific text characters

[num_chars] – (optional) these are the number of characters we will retrieve from the given text string in a cell.


Important Note for Excel LEFT Function




 Must be “0” or greater than “0” and if not mentioned, it will consider as 1 by default.

 If it is more than a text string length, it will retrieve all the characters in a cell.

 If it is not mentioned it will always retrieve first (1) character from a string.

 It works with number and text as equal.

 If this value is (-1) or any negative number, it will return a result as  (#VALUE!)

Excel LEFT function in short

   =LEFT (go to this cell, retrieve a required number of characters)


Example 1

As we can see in the below image, we take “3” as “num_chars” and result is “Exc”. It retrieves only three characters as specified.


Excel LEFT Function


Example 2

In the previous example, we put “A2” as a cell reference. But in this example, we put text string “Excelnsg” in place of cell reference (A2). See that both results are same. So it will produce the same result, from cell reference or type a whole text string.


Excel LEFT Function


Example 3


In this example, we did not specify “num_chars” and see that it assume it as “1”. And return a result as “E” first characters of “Excelnsg”.


Excel LEFT Function


Example 4

In this example, we take “num_chars” as “0” so the result is blank. It extracts 0 characters from a string “Excelnsg”.


Excel LEFT Function


Example 5

It will provide #VALUE! the result, if num_chars taken as a negative value.


Excel LEFT Function


Example 6

If the text string or cell value is alpha cum numeric, it will follow the rule always.

Excel LEFT Function


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