Microsoft Excel 2010 – Extract Data From a Cell Using LEFT Function

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.

Excel Training LEFT Function

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.

Excel Training London Using the LEFT Function

Training Excel London Results of using LEFT Function


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 5th 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.

Excel 2010 Training Learn to use FIND Function

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.