In the following example there is a column of stock codes. The numbers represent our Supplier and the letters after the hyphen (-) indicates our Item number.

Suppose we need to extract the Supplier and Item codes and place in separate cells. If our Supplier codes were all equal length e.g. 3 numbers long, we could simply use the LEFT function.

In the **Excel 2010 Training Courses** here in **London** this is a common question.

The problem we have is that not all Supplier codes are 3 numbers in length.

We can correct this by using another Excel function word, FIND.

FIND function can return a number value of where a particular character appears, e.g. if we have a word “**BEST-STL TRAINING**” the FIND function would tell us that the hyphen is the 5^{th} character.

We could use this inside (nested) the LEFT function – But remember we do not want to include the hyphen (-) in our final result so we need to subtract 1.

NOTE: Without subtracting 1 in the above example, it would return a value of 4

Final Code: **=LEFT(A2,FIND(“-“,A2)-1)**

*We could repeat this for the Item code by using a combination of RIGHT, LEN and FIND nested.*