How to use Excel RIGHT function - formula examples

In the last few articles, we've discussed different Text functions - those that are used to manipulate text strings. Today our focus is on the RIGHT function, which is designed to return a specified number of characters from the rightmost side of a string. Like other Excel Text functions, RIGHT is very simple and straightforward, nevertheless it has a few unobvious uses that might prove helpful in your work.

Excel RIGHT function syntax

The RIGHT function in Excel returns the specified number of characters from the end of a text string.

The syntax of the RIGHT function is as follows:

RIGHT(text, [num_chars])

Where:

  • Text (required) - the text string from which you want to extract characters.
  • Num_chars (optional) - the number of characters to extract, starting from the rightmost character.
    • If num_chars is omitted, 1 last character of the string is returned (default).
    • If num_chars is greater than the total number of characters in the string, all characters are returned.
    • If num_chars is a negative number, a Right formula returns the #VALUE! error.

For example, to extract the last 3 characters from the string in cell A2, use this formula:

=RIGHT(A2, 3)

The result might look something similar to this:
Using the RIGHT function in Excel

Important note! The Excel RIGHT function always returns a text string, even if the original value is a number. To force a Right formula to output a number, use it in combination with the VALUE function as demonstrated in this example.

How to use RIGHT function in Excel - formula examples

In real-life worksheets, the Excel RIGHT function is rarely used on its own. In most cases, you will be using it together with other Excel functions as part of more complex formulas.

How to get a substring that comes after a certain character

In case you want to extract a substring that follows a specific character, use either SEARCH or FIND function to determine the position of that character, subtract the position from the total string length returned by the LEN function, and pull that many characters from the rightmost side of the original string.

RIGHT(string, LEN(string) - SEARCH(character, string))

Let's say, cell A2 contains the first and last name separated by a space, and you aim to pull the last name to another cell. Just take the generic formula above and you put A2 in place of string, and " " (space) in pace of character:

=RIGHT(A2,LEN(A2)-SEARCH(" ",A2))

The formula will yield the following result:

Right formula to extract a substring after a space

In a similar manner, you can get a substring that follows any other character, e.g. a comma, semicolon, hyphen, etc. For example, to extract a substring that comes after a hyphen, use this formula:

=RIGHT(A2,LEN(A2)-SEARCH("-",A2))

The result will look similar to this:
Right formula to extract a substring after a hyphen

How to extract a substring after the last occurrence of the delimiter

When dealing with complex strings that contain several occurrences of the same delimiter, you may often need to retrieve the text to the right of the last delimiter occurrence. To make things easier to understand, have a look at the following source data and desired result:
Source data and expected result

As you can see in the screenshot above, Column A contains a list of errors. Your goal is to pull the error description that comes after the last colon in each string. An additional complication is that the original strings may contain different numbers of delimiter instances, e.g. A3 contains 3 colons while A5 just one.

The key to finding a solution is determine the position of the last delimiter in the source string (the last occurrence of a colon in this example). To do this, you will need to use a handful of different functions:

  1. Get the number of delimiters in the original string. It's an easy part:
    • Firstly, you calculate the total length of the string using the LEN function: LEN(A2)
    • Secondly, you compute the length of the string without delimiters by using the SUBSTITUTE function that replaces all occurrences of a colon with nothing: LEN(SUBSTITUTE(A2,":",""))
    • Finally, you subtract the length of the original string without delimiters from the total string length: LEN(A2)-LEN(SUBSTITUTE(A2,":",""))

    To make sure the formula works right, you can enter it in a separate cell, and the result will be 2, which is the number of colons in cell A2.

  2. Replace the last delimiter with some unique character. In order to extract the text that comes after the last delimiter in the string, we need to "mark" that final occurrence of the delimiter in some way. For this, let's replace the last occurrence of a colon with a character that does not appear anywhere in the original strings, for example with a pound sign (#).

    If you are familiar with the syntax of the Excel SUBSTITUTE function, you may remember that it has the 4th optional argument (instance_num) that allows replacing only a specific occurrence of the specified character. And since we have already calculated the number of delimiters in the string, simply supply the above function in the fourth argument of another SUBSTITUTE function:

    =SUBSTITUTE(A2,":","#",LEN(A2)-LEN(SUBSTITUTE(A2,":","")))

    If you put this formula in a separate cell, it would return this string: ERROR:432#Connection timed out

  3. Get the position of the last delimiter in the string. Depending on what character you replaced the last delimiter with, use either case-insensitive SEARCH or case-sensitive FIND to determine the position of that character in the string. We replaced the last colon with the # sign, so we use the following formula to find out its position:
    =SEARCH("#", SUBSTITUTE(A2,":","#",LEN(A2)-LEN(SUBSTITUTE(A2,":",""))))

    In this example, the formula returns 10, which is the position of # in the replaced string.

  4. Return a substring to the right of the last delimiter. Now that you know the position of the last delimiter in a string, all you have to do is subtract that number from the total string length, and get the RIGHT function to return that many characters from the end of the original string:

    =RIGHT(A2,LEN(A2)-SEARCH("$",SUBSTITUTE(A2,":","$",LEN(A2)-LEN(SUBSTITUTE(A2,":","")))))

As shown in the screenshot below, the formula works perfectly:
Extracting a substring after the last occurrence of the delimiter

If you are working with a large dataset where different cells may contain different delimiters, you may want to enclose the above formula in the IFERROR function to prevent possible errors:

=IFERROR(RIGHT(A2,LEN(A2)-SEARCH("$",SUBSTITUTE(A2,":","$",LEN(A2)-LEN(SUBSTITUTE(A2,":",""))))), A2)

In case a certain string does not contain a single occurrence of the specified delimiter, the original string will be returned, like in row 6 in the screenshot below:
An improved formula to extract a substring after the last occurrence of the delimiter

How to remove the first N characters from a string

Apart from extracting a substring from the end of a string, the Excel RIGHT function comes in handy in situations when you want to remove a certain number of characters from the beginning of the string.

In the dataset used in the previous example, you may want to remove the word "ERROR" that appears at the start of each string and leave only the error number and description. To have it done, subtract the number of characters to be removed from the total string length, and supply that number to the num_chars argument of the Excel RIGHT function:

RIGHT(string, LEN(string)-number_of_chars_to_remove)

In this example, we remove the first 6 characters (5 letters and a colon) from the text string in A2, so our formula goes as follows:

=RIGHT(A2, LEN(A2)-6)

Using the Excel RIGHT function to remove the first 6 characters from a string

Can the Excel RIGHT function return a number?

As mentioned in the beginning of this tutorial, the RIGHT function in Excel always returns a text string even if the original value is a number. But what if you work with a numeric dataset and want the output to be numeric too? An easy workaround is nesting a Right formula in the VALUE function, which is specially designed to convert a string representing a number to a number.

For example, to pull the last 5 characters (zip code) from the string in A2 and convert the extracted characters to a number, use this formula:

=VALUE(RIGHT(A2, 5))

The screenshot below shows the result - please notice the right-aligning numbers in column B, as opposed to left-aligned text strings in column A:
Use the RIGHT function in combination with VALUE to return a number.

Why doesn't the RIGHT function work with dates?

Since the Excel RIGHT function is designed to work with text strings whereas dates are represented by numbers in the internal Excel system, a Right formula is unable to retrieve an individual part of a date such as a day, month or year.  If you attempt to do this, all you will get is a few last digits of the number representing a date.

Supposing, you have the date 18-Jan-2017 in cell A1. If you try to extract the year with the formula RIGHT(A1,4), the result would be 2753, which is the last 4 digits of number 42753 that represents January 18, 2017 in the Excel system.
The Excel RIGHT function cannot be used on dates.

"So, how do I retrieve a certain part of a date?", you may ask me. By using one of the following functions:

The following screenshot shows the results:
Use the Day, MONTH or YEAR function to get individual parts of a date.

If your dates are represented by text strings, which is often the case when you export data from an external source, nothing prevents you from using the RIGHT function to pull the last few characters in the string that represent a certain part of the date:
If a date is represented by a text string, a Right formula works correctly.

Excel RIGHT function not working - reasons and solutions

If a Right formula does not work right in your worksheet, most likely it's because of one of the following reasons:

  1. There is one or more trailing spaces in the original data. To quickly remove extra spaces in cells, use either the Excel TRIM function or the Cell Cleaner add-in.
  2. The num_chars argument is less than zero. Of course, you will hardly want to put a negative number in your formula on purpose, but if the num_chars argument is calculated by another Excel function or a combination of different functions and your Right formula returns the #VALUE! error, be sure to check the nested function(s) for errors.
  3. The original value is a date. If you have followed this tutorial closely, you already know why the RIGHT function cannot work with dates. If someone skipped the previous section, you can find full details in Why the Excel RIGHT function does not work with dates.

This is how you use the RIGHT function in Excel. To have a closer look at the formulas discussed in this tutorial, you are most welcome to download a sample Excel RIGHT function workbook. I thank you for reading and hope to see you on our blog next week.

You may also be interested in:

22 Responses to "How to use Excel RIGHT function - formula examples"

  1. Bill says:

    3 Range : Time, Value A, Value B

    Triger : “>=7”

    condition : between A and B, who reach 7 first in period of time 1 to 6, then win.

    *Eq 1 : in a period of time show by range Time 1 to 6, A hit 7 first before B. then, “A WIN“

    Time | A | B | A WIN

    1 | 1 | 2 |

    2 | 5 | 2 |

    3 | 7 | 4 |

    4 | 5 | 5 |

    5 | 4 | 6 |

    6 | 3 | 7 |

    *Eq 2 : in a period of time show by range Time 1 to 6, B hit 7 first before A. then, “B WIN“

    Time | A | B | B WIN

    1 | 1 | 2 |

    2 | 5 | 7 |

    3 | 7 | 4 |

    4 | 5 | 5 |

    5 | 4 | 6 |

    6 | 3 | 2 |

    Please help me how to make this formula, its been 3 days im trying but i still cant figure it out,

    thanks in advance.

    By: Bill

  2. Suhas Shetty says:

    Hi.. Assumed your range is A2:C7, copy and paste the below formula in cell D2 and press ctl+shift+Enter (not just "Enter")

    =IF(IFERROR(MATCH(1,IF(B2:B7>=7,1,0),0),COUNT(B2:B7))=7,1,0),0),COUNT(C2:C7)),"A Wins",IF(IFERROR(MATCH(1,IF(C2:C7>=7,1,0),0),COUNT(C2:C7))=7,1,0),0),COUNT(B2:B7)),"B Wins",IF(COUNTIF(B2:C7,">=7")=0,"Nobody Wins","Tied")))

    Hope this will solve your purpose..

  3. RAM KISHOR says:

    india-great-1900
    ind-great-12
    great-ind-130
    the Q.is that i want only numbers like 1900
    12
    130
    how can solve this is excel sheet

  4. Stephen Christie says:

    Excellent site. Always come to you for answers, and you always have them. Thank you.
    No need to reply./

  5. Donna says:

    How to write a formula to take the value from the right and translate it into another value: Values in A1 - A3 are ddd - 100S, ddd - 100N, ddd - 100, I need to find the S, N and blank and translate that into Sally/Ned/Unassigned

  6. tania says:

    I am using the following formula to produce a number that is in turn used to produce a list of items 1 - 20 for 131 staff.
    staff list N$17 = 131 (number of staff)
    Staff list $T$1 = 20 (number of items)
    A19 = 131
    D21 = Item 9

    This works to produce a number 1179 that results in item 9 being populated:
    =IF($A19*RIGHT(D21,1)>4000,"Not enough Lines",IF($A19*RIGHT(D21,1)>('Staff List '!$N$17*'Staff List '!$T$1),"",'Scoring Sheet'!$A19*RIGHT(D21,1)))

    However for items 10 - 20 I get the same results as calls 1 - 9 with 0 for 10 and 20...

    E21 = Item 10
    =IF($A19*RIGHT(E21,1)>4000,"Not enough Lines",IF($A19*RIGHT(E21,1)>('Staff List '!$N$17*'Staff List '!$T$1),"",'Scoring Sheet'!$A19*RIGHT(E21,1)))

    Any help would be appreciated. It appears RIGHT is extracting the text but 10 is seen as 0 and 11 as 1 and so on.

  7. Brett says:

    Hi, I have a form in excel which shows a value in a cell of 806.73 (example in field A1).
    I want to to show each digit in a separate filed i.e 8 goes into A1, 0 into B1, 6 into C1 etc.
    I tried to use the =LEFT(RIGHT(A1,1),1) for the A1 value, =LEFT(RIGHT(B1,2),1) for the B1 value and so on. I need to allow for a monetary value of the following points nnnnnnnnnn.nn
    The problem I have found is that if configure each field (B1, C1, D1 etc) upto a max of 10 and the value shown in A1 is nnn.nn then the values shown in A8 for example is shown as the last point which in this example would be '8' but I need to return a blank
    Any help would be helpful

    • Hello,

      If I understand your task correctly, please try to do the following:

      1. Supposing that your cell A1 contains a value of 806.73;

      2. Enter the following formula in cell B1:

      =IF(COLUMN(A1)<=LEN($A$1),RIGHT(LEFT($A$1,COLUMN(A1)),1),"")

      3. Just select the cell where you've entered the formula and drag the fill handle (a small square at the lower right-hand corner of the selected cell) to the right.

      Hope this will help.

  8. Amit says:

    If A:A=2017 then Count K:K

  9. Ahmed says:

    5 Approved 0 Declined & 21 times
    6 Approved 3 Declined & 4 times
    10 Approved 1 Declined & 14 times
    156 Approved 6 Declined & 116 times

    always the data comes in the above formate; I want to use conditional formatting in case the first digit > the last digit.

  10. Deane says:

    Hi Ablebits team

    I work with excel sheets with up to 300 lines of different text in 1 column and need to create a comma delimited csv file which requires a minimum of 2 commas in each line.
    Some lines don't have the 2nd comma at the end of the text, how do i go about adding a comma in the cells that are missing the 2nd comma?
    Essentially i just need to fine all the cells that are missing a comma at the end of the text and add it in but i haven't a clue how.

    Regards Deane

  11. Doug says:

    There may be other methods, but this is how I would do it.
    I would start by taking the comma off the end of the data so that the data would have the same structure.
    Then apply one procedure to all the data.
    To get to that point you just need to do some adding and subtracting in a helper column’s cell. Like this:
    First, in an open cell, for example, in cell B1, enter =SUBSTITUTE(A1, ",", "", 2)
    This should remove the second occurrence of the comma and leave the other comma in place.
    Copy this formula down the list to the end of the data.
    Now, all the cells have the same structure with one comma in the data, none at the end.
    Second, in a new column say cell “C1”, enter =B1&","
    This enters a comma at the end of the text from B1.
    Then copy down this formula to the end of the data.
    When you finish, there is one comma in the data and one comma at the end of the data in column C.
    Lastly, you may want to copy the completed data into a new sheet.
    If so, copy the data, then in another sheet use “Paste Special – Values”.
    This will copy all your data with just one comma in the data and one comma at the end ready for a CSV.

  12. Deane says:

    Thanks for your response Doug
    I am using the substitute formula as part of my csv editing arsenal and part of your suggestion to complete the csv :)
    But i didn't explain myself correctly i dont think... so in fear of miscommunicating my issue again here is an example.
    (Side note) The final csv file must have a heading in cell A1 and all the rows must conform to the standard of the first line: Cell A1 looks like this: lot_number,title,description

    This is an example of 1 line of text as it is when i get it: 001,1,2013 CK61FXGP NISSAN MICRA 1.2 VISIA+ AUDIO 5-DR (GREY)(132223 kms)

    This is what it needs to look like for the csv end result:
    1,2013 CK16XFGP NISSAN MICRA 1.2 VISIA+ AUDIO 5-DR ,(GREY) (132223 kms)

    90% of the lines have an open bracket which is the start of the description so i use find and replace to find the first ( and replace it with ,( which is simple enough to get my second comma.

    However some lines don't have a description i.e. no open bracket, this is an example of what they would look like: 001,1,2013 CK16XFGP NISSAN MICRA 1.2 VISIA+ AUDIO 5-DR

    The part im not getting right is to find all the rows (the list is growing... now up to 400 rows per csv) that don't have the open bracket and add a comma at the end of those lines.
    But i'm not sure how to find cells that don't have 2 commas and add a comma to those that only have 1.

    Maybe im not looking at it right... hopefully i have explained nicely this time :)

  13. Samrajpal Guru says:

    Hi Guys,

    I am unable to find the solution for following query, please help me finding the solution.
    I want to generate a formula for saving a number to a particular bit column, my table has 9 columns 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,0 if user input value 20 it should be save in bit 2 column, if user enter value 75 in cell it should be save to column no 7. So guys please suggest me solution and yes i am totally newbie to excel so please give me exact formula to do so.
    Thanks in advance.

  14. Gary says:

    Hi Guys
    Need help!
    I have an excel file with Addresses that look like this:
    "123 Westlawn Unit 134 Los Angles, CA 90066 USA"
    "567 Homecoming Dr. #1267 Chino, CA 91708 USA"
    I need to Pull City, State and Zip or at least State and Zip. I do not need USA part.
    Thank you In advance
    Gary

  15. Gary says:

    also some records look like this: (comma after state)
    XXXX Via Marina, #JXXX, Marina Del Rey, CA, 90292 USA

    • Doug says:

      Gary:
      Because I can't see any pattern to the structure of your data, it seems you'll have to handle some of the separation process "By Hand". In other words I don't see any option but for you to clean this data up.
      Highlight the cell that contains the data.
      Then from the Data tab select Text-to-Columns.
      Then click the Delimited button then next.
      Then click the Spaces button then next.
      Then General then Finish.
      Now your data is in separate cells. Problem will be the same type of info is not in the same columns.
      You'll have to move the same types into the columns by hand.
      If you need to put the name state and zip into one cell you'll need to concatenate them into one cell.

  16. VILAS says:

    HI
    I WANT FORMULA AS PER BELOW CONDITION
    I/P
    MM NO PRICE YEAR VENDOR
    O/P
    MM NO PRICE LOWEST PRICE IN PARTICULAR YEAR VENDOR

Post a comment



Unfortunately, due to the volume of comments received we cannot guarantee that we will be able to give you a timely response. When posting a question, please be very clear and concise. We thank you for understanding!
Excel add-ins and Outlook tools - Ablebits.com
Ultimate Suite 2018.3 Summer Offer