LEFT, LEFTB functions

This article describes the formula syntax and usage of the LEFT and LEFTB  function in Microsoft Excel.

Description

LEFT returns the first character or characters in a text string, based on the number of characters you specify.

LEFTB returns the first character or characters in a text string, based on the number of bytes you specify.

  LEFTB counts 2 bytes per character only when a DBCS language is set as the default language. Otherwise LEFTB behaves the same as LEFT, counting 1 byte per character.

The languages that support DBCS include Japanese, Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), and Korean.

Syntax

LEFT(text, [num_chars])

LEFTB(text, [num_bytes])

The function syntax has the following arguments:

  • Text    Required. The text string that contains the characters you want to extract.

  • Num_chars    Optional. Specifies the number of characters you want LEFT to extract.

    • Num_chars must be greater than or equal to zero.

    • If num_chars is greater than the length of text, LEFT returns all of text.

    • If num_chars is omitted, it is assumed to be 1.

  • Num_bytes     Optional. Specifies the number of characters you want LEFTB to extract, based on bytes.

Example

Example 1: LEFT

Copy the example data in the following table, and paste it in cell A1 of a new Excel worksheet. For formulas to show results, select them, press F2, and then press Enter. If you need to, you can adjust the column widths to see all the data.

Data

Sale Price

Sweden

Formula

Description

Result

=LEFT(A2,4)

First four characters in the first string

Sale

=LEFT(A3)

First character in the second string

S

Example 2: LEFTB (with your computer set to a default language that supports DBCS)

Copy the example data in the following table, and paste it in cell A1 of a new Excel worksheet. For formulas to show results, select them, press F2, and then press Enter. If you need to, you can adjust the column widths to see all the data.

Data

Sale Price

Sweden

Formula

Description

Result

=LEFT(A2,4)

First four characters in the first string

Sale

=LEFT(A3)

First character in the second string

S

Applies To: Excel 2010, Excel Starter, Excel 2013, Excel Online, Excel 2016 for Mac, Excel for Mac 2011, Excel 2007



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