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A to Z of Excel Functions: The LEFT Function

10 September 2021

Welcome back to our regular A to Z of Excel Functions blog. Today we look at the LEFT function.

The LEFT function

The LEFT function returns the first character or characters in a text string, based on the number of characters specified.

The LEFT function employs the following syntax to operate:

LEFT(text, [number_of_characters])

The LEFT function has the following arguments:

  • text: this is required and represents the text string that contains the characters you want to extract
  • number_of_characters: this argument is optional and specifies the number of characters you want LEFT to extract.

It should be further noted that:

  • number_of_characters must be greater than or equal to zero
  • if number_of_characters is greater than the length of text, LEFT returns all of text
  • if number_of_characters is omitted, it is assumed to be one (1).

Please see my examples below:

We’ll continue our A to Z of Excel Functions soon. Keep checking back – there’s a new blog post every business day.

A full page of the function articles can be found here.