How to Use Excel LEFT Function (Examples + Video)

When to use Excel LEFT Function

LEFT function can be used to extract text from left of the string.

What it Returns

It returns the specified number of characters from the left of the string.


=LEFT(text, [num_chars])

Input Arguments

  • text – The text string that contains the characters you want to extract.
  • [num_chars] – (optional) the number of characters to extract from the left of the text string. If you omit this, is defaults to 1.

Additional Notes

  • Num_chars must be greater than or equal to zero.
  • If num_chars is greater than the length of the text, LEFT returns all of text.
  • If the num_chars argument is not given, it returns the left-most character.
  • Spaces are counted as characters.
    • To remove extra spaces from text strings, use the TRIM function.
  • It also works with numbers, as it treats numbers as text (Live Example below).

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