Easiest Ways to Remove Characters from the Left Side in Excel [2024]

November 9, 2023 6.7K views

Removing characters from the left side in Excel is a common task that can be used to clean data, handle fixed-length formats, and ensure better data quality and consistency. However, it can be difficult to identify the precise number of characters to remove, especially when dealing with varying data formats or inconsistent data entry. This article will provide you with 5 best ways to remove characters from the left side in Excel, so you can easily clean up your data and get the results you need.

How to Remove Left or Right Characters in Excel?

Step 1: Open Excel and select a cell.

Step 2 (Remove Left Character): To delete the first character from a string, use this formula:

=RIGHT(A2, LEN(A2) - 1)

Step 3 (Remove Right Character): To delete the last character from a string, use this formula:

=LEFT(A2, LEN(A2) - 1)

Step 4: Press Enter to apply the formula.

You've now removed left or right characters from a string in Excel using these formulas.

How to Remove Characters From the Left Side of a Cell in Excel?

Step 1: Open Excel and select the cell containing the text.

Step 2 (Using REPLACE Function): To delete the first character, use the REPLACE function:

=REPLACE(A1, 1, 1, "")

Replace "A1" with the cell reference containing the text.

Step 3 (Using RIGHT and LEN Functions): Alternatively, you can use RIGHT and LEN functions:

=RIGHT(A1, LEN(A1) - 1)

Replace "A1" with the cell reference.

How to Remove Fixed Number of Characters from the Left Excel?

Step 1: Open Excel and locate the column or cells containing the data from which you want to remove a fixed number of characters from the left.

Step 2: In a nearby cell, where you want the modified data to appear, enter the following formula:

=RIGHT(A2, LEN(A2) - 3)

This formula extracts the characters from the right side of cell A2, excluding the first three characters.

Step 3: Press Enter, and the cell will display the data with the first three characters removed.

Step 4: If you need to apply this formula to multiple cells, you can copy the formula down by selecting the cell with the formula, grabbing the fill handle (a small square at the bottom-right corner of the selected cell), and dragging it down to cover the desired range of cells.

How to Remove First, Last X Characters or Certain Position Characters from Text in Excel?

1.Remove First X Characters:

Formula: =RIGHT(A1, LEN(A1) - X)

Replace A1 with your text cell and X with the number of characters to remove from the beginning.

2. Remove Last X Characters:

Formula: =LEFT(A1, LEN(A1) - X)

Replace A1 with your text cell and X with the number of characters to remove from the end.

3. Remove Characters from a Specific Position:

Formula: =LEFT(A1, 3) & MID(A1, 7, LEN(A1))

This removes characters starting at position 4 and removes 3 characters. Adjust the numbers as needed for your specific situation.

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Steps for use:

Step 1: Applying the RIGHT Function

Start by selecting cell b2. Navigate to the Formulas tab.

Click on the "Insert Function" button.

Step 2 Insert the RIGHT function into the formula bar.

Input "A2" in the Text input box.Enter "2" in the Num_chars input box. Press "OK" to execute the formula.

The LEFT and RIGHT functions are akin in function, differing only in their starting positions. The RIGHT function extracts characters from the right side, moving from right to left. In contrast, the LEFT function commences extraction from the left side, moving from left to right.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Can I extract specific words from a cell in Excel?

Indeed, Microsoft Excel offers three distinct functions for extracting text of a defined length from cells. Utilize these formulas based on your extraction starting point:

LEFT function: Extracts a substring from the left side.

RIGHT function: Extracts text from the right side.

MID function - Extract a substring from the middle

2. How can I pad cells to a fixed length in Excel?

To pad cells to a fixed length, select the desired cells, input the formula =LEFT(A1&"*****",5), press Enter, and drag the fill handle as needed. Here, A1 is the cell for fixing length, "*" is the fill character, and 5 signifies the intended text length. Alternative formulas include:


=A1 & REPT("*",5-LEN(A1))

=REPT("*",5-LEN(A1)) &A1

3. Does WPS Spreadsheets have functions for removing characters from the left side?

Absolutely, WPS Spreadsheets supports functions such as LEFT(), TRIM(), and MID(), all of which are handy for removing characters from the left side of cells.


In conclusion, mastering the skill of removing characters from the left side in Excel is vital for effective data management. This article has provided you with easy-to-follow methods, including functions like RIGHT, LEFT, and MID, to simplify this task. Additionally, WPS Spreadsheets offers practical solutions to enhance your data manipulation capabilities. With these tools at your disposal, you're empowered to efficiently clean and refine your data, contributing to more accurate and organized Excel work.

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