How to Use MID Function in Excel (Step-By-Step)

January 16, 2024 449 views

In the active kingdom of Excel spreadsheet operations, the MID function is an effective tool that proposes a gateway to use text strings with accuracy. Most of the time, many people face the challenge of extracting specific portions of text from a cell. Many conflicts occur when users deal with manual methods that are not only time-consuming but also likely to be full of errors. Imagine the frustration of examining through infinite characters, attempting to separate critical information. This guide on "How to Use the MID Function in Excel (Step-By-Step)" reveals the key to efficiently removing desired substrings, resolving the dilemma and streamlining your data management tasks.

1.1 What is the MID Function in Excel?

The MID function in Excel is a valuable tool that is used to extract a particular portion of text from a given text string. The Mid stands for "middle" and is mostly useful when you need to segregate a substring based on its starting position and length within a cell's content. This function is commonly used for tasks such as extracting names, dates, or other specific information from longer strings.

Syntax of the MID function:

The basic syntax of the MID function is as under:

=MID(text, start_num, num_chars)

An explanation of the basic syntax of the MID function in Excel

The formula structure is as follows: =MID(text, start_num, num_chars). This function is used to extract a specified number of characters from a text string, starting from a designated position."

  • Text: It refers to the text string from which you want to extract the substring.

  • Start_num: It states the spot within the text string, where you want to start extracting the substring. It is a numeric value and used to represent the character position.

  • Num_chars: It indicates the total number of characters that you want to extract from the stated starting position.

    Further clarification of the MID function's syntax

 The 'num_chars' parameter signifies the total count of characters you intend to extract from the specified starting position within the text string."


Let’s suppose, a text "Hi, John!" is written in a cell of your Excel sheet and you want to extract the word "John" from it. To do this, you can use the MID function as mentioned below:

=MID("Hi, John!", 5, 4)

  • In this example, the text is "Hi, John!"

  • The start_num is 5, because you want to start extracting from the fifth character, which is the 'J'.

  • The num_chars is 4, because you want to extract a substring of four characters, which covers "John".

  • The result would be "John".

The MID function allows you to operate textual data within Excel efficiently in order to make it an invaluable tool for data analysis, cleaning, and other numerous tasks where exact substring extraction is required.

A description highlighting the utility of the MID function in Excel


This function is a valuable tool for efficiently handling textual data, making it invaluable for tasks like data analysis, data cleaning, and various other operations that involve precise substring extraction."

1.2 When is the MID Function Useful in Excel?

The MID function is useful in numerous scenarios where you need to operate and extract particular portions of text from longer strings. Below are few common situations, when the MID function proves its utility:

1.     Data cleaning and transformation: When working with raw data that has text strings in changeable formats, the MID function supports extracting relevant information, including names, dates, product codes, and transforming it into a more structured format.

Explanation of how the MID function can be utilized for data cleaning and transformation


2.     Parsing text: When you have text strings that follow a reliable pattern but contain dissimilar information, the MID function can facilitate extracting specific elements without manually editing each cell.

The MID function's role in parsing text explained

In cases where text strings exhibit consistent patterns but contain diverse information, the MID function simplifies the process of extracting specific elements without the need for manual editing of each cell, streamlining data processing tasks."

3.     Working with dates: Extracting components of a date (day, month, and year) from a text string becomes simple using the MID function in order to allow you to convert unstructured date data into a usable format.

Illustration of how the MID function is beneficial for working with dates


4.     Extracting substrings: If you require segregating a specific word, phrase, or set of letters from a larger text, the MID function modernises the process in order to save time and effort.

The MID function's effectiveness in extracting substrings highlighted

When there is a need to isolate a particular word, phrase, or sequence of letters from a longer text, the MID function streamlines the process, offering time and effort savings in text manipulation."

5.     Handling codes or Identifiers: The MID function assists in extracting the identifiers for further analysis, if your data is having unique identifiers, product codes, as well as membership numbers embedded within text.

The MID function's role in facilitating the extraction of identifiers for subsequent analysis


1.3 How to use the  MID  Function in Excel? (Step By Step)

The step-by-step instructions on “how to use the MID function in Excel”, is as follows:

Step 1:       Select the cell in the Excel worksheet, where you want to put the result of the formula.

In an Excel worksheet, choose the specific cell where you intend to display the result of the formula."


Step 2:       Bow, enter this formula:

=MID(text, start_num, num_chars)

"Next, enter the following formula into the selected cell in Excel: =MID(text, start_num, num_chars)"

Step 3:       Replace the argument “text” with the text string you want to extract the substring from.

"Substitute the term 'text' in the formula with the specific text string from which you intend to extract the substring."

Step 4:       Replace the argument “start_num” with the position of the first character that you want to extract.

Replace the 'start_num' parameter in the formula with the position of the first character you wish to extract."

Step 5:       Replace the argument “num_chars” with the number of characters that you want to extract.

Substituting the 'num_chars' parameter in the formula with the desired number of characters for extraction."

Step 6:       Press the Enter button.

Final result is displayed in the image.

1.4 Combining MID with Other Functions in Excel

The MID function can be combined with other Excel functions to create more powerful and flexible formulas. Below is the few with examples:

Function Combination



MID with LEN

Using MID and LEN functions together to extract a substring of a specific length.

=MID(A2, 1, LEN(A2)-3)


Combining MID and FIND functions to extract text between specific characters.

=MID(A2, FIND("-", A2)+1, FIND("@", A2)-FIND("-", A2)-1)


Using MID along with LEFT and RIGHT functions to extract text from both ends of a string.

=LEFT(A2, 4) & MID(A2, 6, 3) & RIGHT(A2, 2)


Utilising MID and SUBSTITUTE functions to manipulate text strings by replacing specific characters.

=SUBSTITUTE(MID(A2, 1, 10), " ", "_")

MID with IF

Combining MID and IF functions to conditionally extract substrings based on specific criteria.

=IF(condition, MID(A2, 1, 5), MID(A2, 7, 5))


Using MID alongside CONCATENATE (or &) function to join multiple MID-extracted substrings.

=MID(A2, 1, 3) & "-" & MID(A2, 5, 2)


Combining MID with TEXT and DATEVALUE functions to extract and convert date information.

=DATEVALUE(MID(A2, 7, 5) & "-" & MID(A2, 1, 2) & "-" & MID(A2, 4, 2))

1.5 Tips & Tricks about Using Mid Function in Excel

Following are the tips and tricks about using the MID function in Excel:

Understand the syntax: First of all, familiarise yourself with the basic syntax of the MID function that is: =MID(text, start_num, num_chars). It is crucial for all to know what each argument does in order to successfully implement it.

Verify arguments: When you are going to extract characters from a text, start and length of character should be double-checked. This confirms reliability and avoids errors.

Combining text with "&": Use the combining/ concatenation operator "&" to combine several MID functions and other text. This is manageable for constructing complex strings.

Nesting MID functions: You can nest MID functions within each other to extract multiple substrings in one formula. Though, ensure your formula remains clear and manageable.

Convert text to numbers: If you are extracting numbers as text, then you have to use the VALUE function to change them to numeric values. This is mainly useful for mathematical operations.

Handling errors: In order to manage cases in which the start_num is out of range or invalid, use the MID function along with an IFERROR function to display a custom message or value.

Extracting dates: When you have dates within text to extract, use the MID function in combination with DATEVALUE function or other date-related functions to change the extracted text into a valid date.

Extracting middle characters: In case to extract characters from the middle of any text string. You need to adjust the start_num and num_chars arguments consequently.

Use named ranges: When you are dealing with particular sections of text repeatedly then its best to define named ranges for those sections. This streamlines your formulas and increases readability.

Practice with sample data: Create a sample dataset to experiment with various scenarios of MID functions before applying that on your actual data. This decreases the chances of errors.

By remembering the above tips and tricks, you will be well equipped to use the MID function efficiently, for a wide range of data management tasks.

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Algirdas Jasaitis


Q 1. How do I extract text in the middle of a cell?

To extract text in the middle of a cell, you can use the MID function as described above. Because the MID function lets you specify the starting position and the number of text to extract from a given text string.

Q 2. Can the MID function handle multibyte characters and non-English languages?

Yes, the MID function can handle multibyte characters and non-English languages in Excel. It is designed to work with a wide range of characters, including those from non-English languages and multibyte character sets. As long as the text data is correctly encoded, the MID function will accurately extract characters based on the specified start position and length, regardless of language or character type.

Q 3. How can I extract variable-length strings with the MID function?

The MID function refers to a multipurpose tool that facilitates you to specify both the starting position and the number of characters to extract. This is especially helpful when dealing with strings of variable-length.


As you learn through this comprehensive guide on the topic of using the MID function in Excel, you have gained valuable insights into changing text strings with accuracy. From extracting specific characters to handling various scenarios, the step-by-step instructions and illustrations have equipped you with a powerful tool for data manipulation. In your pursuit of efficient and effective work, remember that WPS Office offers a versatile solution to complement your Excel endeavours. With its seamless compatibility with Microsoft Office formats and a range of features, including word-processing, spreadsheets, and presentations, WPS Office ensures you have the right tools readily available. Elevate your Excel skills and overall productivity with the aid of both the MID function and the WPS Office suite.

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