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How to Extract Numbers from Cells With Letters and Numbers in Excel (3 Easy Steps)

November 3, 2023 1.0K views

When we analyze data as students, teachers, or professional analysts, at one point, we'll want to extract certain numbers from alphanumeric strings. But the disappointing part is that Excel doesn't have a single-tap feature for this, making it a difficult task. So, of course, analysts get stuck here or pay other analysts to help them.

However, in this article, you will learn how to easily extract only numbers from a cell with text and numbers.

How to Extract Numbers from Cells With Text and Numbers in Excel

When I first used Microsoft Excel for my data analysis as a student, I pretty much knew my way around its user interface and functions. But I didn't know how Excel extracts a number from a cell with text and number until some extra tutors, which I will discuss and simplify here.

Method 1. From the Beginning of the Text String

I'm starting off with this one because it is the easiest of all the steps. It's the best method if the data in the cell you want to extract has numbers before the text. The most important component of this step is the LEFT ( ), ROW, INDIRECT, and LEN functions. You will need these functions to input the number extraction formula.

To extract numbers from the beginning of a text string, enter this formula in an empty cell:

=LEFT(cell_reference, MATCH(FALSE, ISNUMBER(MID(cell_reference, ROW(INDIRECT("1:"&LEN(cell_reference)+1)), 1) *1), 0) -1)

Then, hit the Enter button on your keyboard. Note that the "cell_reference" in the formula refers to the cell ( containing the text string with the number you want to extract.

Of course, this may look challenging, but it is straightforward. Let me explain better with an example backed by an image. For example, from the image below, cell A9 contains the text string "06-EACD-04," and you want to extract the starting number "06;" Enter the formula with reference to the cell in question.

Just like this:

=LEFT(A9, MATCH(FALSE, ISNUMBER(MID(A9, ROW(INDIRECT("1:"&LEN(A9)+1)), 1) *1), 0) -1)

This formula will extract the first number (06) before the text in the cell. No matter how many digits are present in the middle or at the end of the string, by using this approach, you can extract the numbers from the beginning. This method is very dependable, simple, and easy to use, which makes it a great option for data extraction jobs.

But you can have trouble using this method to extract numbers from a string if there are issues with the spacing and parenthesis. Thus, you must depict each spacing when necessary and note how you arrange the parenthesis to avoid getting an error response.

Method 2: From the End of the Text String

Sometimes, our data cell may have all the numbers at the end of the string, i.e., after the text. In such cases, you can start from the end of the string to extract numbers from a mixed text in Excel. The fastest way to do this is to use the formula below to supply the RIGHT ( ) function with the number of characters for extraction.

To extract numbers from the end of a text string, enter this formula in an empty cell:

=RIGHT(cell_reference, LEN(cell_reference) - MAX(IF(ISNUMBER(MID(cell_reference, ROW(INDIRECT("1:"&LEN(cell_reference))), 1) *1)=FALSE, ROW(INDIRECT("1:"&LEN(cell_reference))), 0)))

Remember that "cell_reference" refers to the cell containing the text string with the number you want to extract. Then, press the Enter button to execute your command.

Let's make it more illustrative using the same text string I used in the first method. Consider the cell_reference to be A9 with the string "06-EACD-04." The aim is to extract 04 from the cell, and we can do this with the formula:

=RIGHT(A9, LEN(A9) - MAX(IF(ISNUMBER(MID(A9, ROW(INDIRECT("1:"&LEN(A9))), 1) *1)=FALSE, ROW(INDIRECT("1:"&LEN(A9))), 0)))

This formula extracts numbers from a string in Excel from the back, and in this case, it extracts 04 from the string and ignores 06 and EACD.

This method shares similarities with the first one, and the only difference is that it extracts numbers from the end of the string instead. Suppose you want to analyze Product IDs or serial numbers; this method is your best bet to extract numbers from the back of the data in each cell.

Method 3: From Any Position in the Text String

Some data cells appear without a pattern, i.e., the numbers and letters are mixed in a way that makes them neither in the beginning, middle, or end of the text. The formula below in Excel extracts numbers from cells with text and numbers even as they're mixed:

=SUMPRODUCT(MID(0&cell_reference, LARGE(INDEX(ISNUMBER(--MID(cell_reference, ROW(INDIRECT(“1:”&LEN(cell_reference))), 1)) *

ROW(INDIRECT(“1:”&LEN(cell_reference))), 0)), ROW(INDIRECT(“1:”&LEN(cell_reference))))+1, 1) *10^ROW(INDIRECT(“1:”&LEN(cell_reference)))/10)

As always, let's have a better illustration with an example. An example is if you want to extract numbers from a string in Excel at cell A9 containing the data "06-EACD-04." You can simply replace "cell_reference" above with "A9". i.e.:

=SUMPRODUCT(MID(0&A9, LARGE(INDEX(ISNUMBER(--MID(A9, ROW(INDIRECT("1:"&LEN(A9))), 1)) * ROW(INDIRECT("1:"&LEN(A9))), 0), ROW(INDIRECT("1:"&LEN(A9))))+1, 1) * 10^ROW(INDIRECT("1:"&LEN(A9)))/10)

Note that this formula might be a hassle for beginners, so I suggest you copy and paste it into Excel to extract numbers from any position in the cell. Also, if the cell you input does not contain a number, this action will return as 0.

Frankly, I didn't understand this method at first glance. But after several personal trials, I got the hang of it. I think, among the three methods, this is the most complex way to extract numbers from a string in Excel. However, it is the easiest way to extract numbers from a data string, such as the quantity of a product or the price of a service.

Additional Tips:

  • Test each formula on a small dataset to ensure it works as expected before applying it to a larger dataset.

  • To avoid mistakes when writing the formula, copy (CTRL+C) and paste (CTRL+V) it on your spreadsheet, but replace the "cell_reference" with the exact cell you want to extract from.

  • Always keep a backup of your original data.

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FAQs

How Do I Separate Texts and Numbers?

With the Text to Columns feature, you can separate texts from numbers in Excel. With this feature, you can split a cell from its delimiter, such as a comma or space. To streamline your dataset, you can retain only the columns with numeric values and remove the ones that don't.

How Do You Split Numbers in Excel Formulas?

You can split numbers in Excel formulas with:  =MID(A1, COLUMN()-(COLUMN(C1)-1),1). Where A1 is the cell with the number that you want to split the digits, while C1 is the cell for locating the first split digits.

Summary

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15 years of office industry experience, tech lover and copywriter. Follow me for product reviews, comparisons, and recommendations for new apps and software.