The LEFT function returns a sub-string from a specified string, starting from the left-most character. In this guide, we’re going to show you how to use the Excel LEFT function and also go over some tips and error handling methods.

Supported versions

  • All Excel versions

Excel LEFT Syntax

LEFT(text, [num_chars])


text The text that contains the sub-string you want to extract.
[num_chars] Optional. The number of characters you want to extract.


Example 1

 formula returns "Char" as text value.

LEFT Example 1

Example 2

formula returns "B". Excel LEFT function returns the first character if [num_chars] argument is omitted.

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  • Excel LEFT function will not extract number formatting characters, like currency symbols or comma separators.
  • Also see RIGHT function to return a sub-string starting from the right of the selected text.
  • Also see MID function to return a sub-string from the middle of a string.