*The tutorial shows how to use the Substring functions in Excel to extract text from a cell, get a substring before or after a specified character, **find cells containing part of a string, and more.*

Before we start discussing different techniques to manipulate substrings in Excel, let's just take a moment to define the term so that we can begin on the same page. So, **what is a substring**? Simply, it's part of a text entry. For example, if you type something like "AA-111" in a cell, you'd call it an *alphanumeric string*, and any part of the string, say "AA", would be a *substring*.

Although there is no such thing as Substring function in Excel, there exist three Text functions (LEFT, RIGHT, and MID) to extract a substring of a given length. Also, there are FIND and SEARCH functions to get a substring before or after a specific character. And, there are a handful of other functions to perform more complex operations such as extracting numbers from a string, replacing one substring with another, looking up partial text match, etc. Below you will find formula examples to do all this and a lot more.

## How to extract substring of a certain length

Microsoft Excel provides three different functions to extract text of a specified length from a cell. Depending on where you want to start extraction, use one of these formulas:

- LEFT function - to extract a substring from the left.
- RIGHT function - to extract text from the right.
- MID function - to extract a substring from the middle of a text string, starting at the point you specify.

As is the case with other formulas, Excel substring functions are best to learn from an example, so let's look at a few ones.

### Extract substring from start of string (LEFT)

To extract text from the left of a string, you use the Excel LEFT function:

Where *text* is the address of the cell containing the source string, and *num_chars* is the number of characters you want to extract.

For example, to get the first 4 characters from the beginning of a text string, use this formula:

`=LEFT(A2,4)`

### Get substring from end of string (RIGHT)

To get a substring from the right part of a text string, go with the Excel RIGHT function:

For instance, to get the last 4 characters from the end of a string, use this formula:

`=RIGHT(A2,4)`

### Extract text from middle of string (MID)

If you are looking to extract a substring starting in the middle of a string, at the position you specify, then MID is the function you can rely on.

Compared to the other two Text functions, MID has a slightly different syntax:

Aside from *text* (the original text string) and *num_chars* (the number of characters to extract), you also indicate *start_num* (the starting point).

In our sample data set, to get three characters from the middle of a string beginning with the 6th character, you use the following formula:

`=MID(A2,6,3)`

Tip. The output of the Right, Left and Mid formulas is always text, even when you are extracting a number from a text string. If you want to operate on the result as a **number**, then wrap your formula in the VALUE function like this:

`=VALUE(MID(A2,6,3))`

## Extract substring before or after a given character

As shown in the above examples, the Left, Right and Mid functions cope nicely with uniform strings. When you are dealing with text strings of variable length, more complex manipulations shall be needed.

Note. In all of the below examples, we will be using the **case-insensitive** SEARCH function to get the position of a character. If you want a **case-sensitive** formula, use the FIND function instead.

### How to extract text before a specific character

To get a substring preceding a given character, two things are to be done: first, you determine the position of the character of interest, and then you pull all characters before it. More precisely, you use the SEARCH function to find the position of the character, and subtract 1 from the result, because you don't want to include the character itself in the output. And then, you send the returned number directly to the *num_chars* argument of the LEFT function:

*cell*, SEARCH("

*char*",

*cell*)-1)

For example, to extract a substring before the hyphen character (-) from cell A2, use this formula:

`=LEFT(A2, SEARCH("-",A2)-1)`

No matter how many characters your Excel string contains, the formula only extracts text before the first hyphen:

### How to extract text after character

To get text following a specific character, you use a slightly different approach: get the position of the character with either SEARCH or FIND, subtract that number from the total string length returned by the LEN function, and extract that many characters from the end of the string.

*cell*,LEN(

*cell*)-SEARCH("

*char*",

*cell*))

In our example, we'd use the following formula to extract a substring after the first hyphen:

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

### How to extract text between two instances of a character

To get a substring between two occurrences of a certain character, use the following generic formula:

*cell*, SEARCH("

*char*",

*cell*)+1, SEARCH ("

*char*",

*cell*, SEARCH ("

*char"*,

*cell*)+1) - SEARCH ("

*char*",

*cell*)-1)

The first two arguments of this MID formula are crystal clear:

*Text* is the cell containing the original text string.

*Start_num* (starting point) - a simple SEARCH formula returns the position of the desired character, to which you add 1 because you want to start extraction with the next character.

*Num_chars* (number of chars to extract) is the trickiest part:

- First, you work out the position of the second occurrence of the character by nesting one Search function within another.
- After that, you subtract the position of the 1st occurrence from the position of the 2nd occurrence, and subtract 1 from the result since you don't want to include the delimiter character in the resulting substring.

For example, to extract text surrounded by two hyphens, you'd use this formula:

`=MID(A2, SEARCH("-",A2) + 1, SEARCH("-",A2,SEARCH("-",A2)+1) - SEARCH("-",A2) - 1)`

The screenshot below shows the result:

If you are looking to extract text between 2^{nd} and 3^{rd} or 3^{nd} and 4^{th} occurrences of the same character, you can use a more compact SEARCH SUBSTITUTE combination to **get the character's position**, as explained in How to find Nth occurrence of a character in a string:

*cell*,

*character*,CHAR(1),

*Nth occurrence*))

In our case, we could extract a substring between the 2nd and 3rd hyphens with the following formula:

`=MID(A2, FIND(CHAR(1),SUBSTITUTE(A2,"-",CHAR(1),2))+1, FIND(CHAR(1),SUBSTITUTE(A2,"-",CHAR(1),3)) - FIND(CHAR(1),SUBSTITUTE(A2,"-",CHAR(1),2))-1)`

## How to find substring in Excel

In situations when you don't want to extract a substring and only want to find cells containing it, you use the SEARCH or FIND function as shown in the above examples, but perform the search within the ISNUMBER function. If a cell contains the substring, the Search function returns the position of the first character, and as long as ISNUMBER gets any number, it returns TRUE. If the substring is not found, the search results in an error, forcing ISNUMBER to return FALSE.

*substring*",

*cell*))

Supposing, you have a list of British postcodes in column A and you want to find those that contain the substring "1ZZ". To have it done, use this formula:

`=ISNUMBER(SEARCH("1zz", A2))`

The results will look something similar to this:

If you'd like to return your own message instead of the logical values of TRUE and FALSE, nest the above formula into the IF function:

`=IF(ISNUMBER(SEARCH("1zz", A2)), "Yes", "")`

If a cell contains the substring, the formula returns "Yes", an empty string ("") otherwise:

As you may remember, the Excel SEARCH function is **case-insensitive**, so you use it when the character case does not matter. To get your formula to distinguish the uppercase and lowercase characters, opt for the **case-sensitive** FIND function.

For more information on how to find text and numbers in Excel, please see If cell contains formula examples.

## How to extract text from cell with Ultimate Suite for Excel

As you have just seen, Microsoft Excel provides an array of different functions to work with text strings. In case you are unsure which function is best suited for your needs, commit the job to our Ultimate Suite for Excel. With these tools in your Excel's arsenal, you just go to *Ablebits Data* tab > *Text* group, and click **Extract**:

Now, you select the source cells, and whatever complex strings they contain, a substring extraction boils down to these two simple actions:

- Specify how many characters you want to get from the start, end or middle of the string; or choose to extract all text before or after a given character.
- Click
*Insert Results*. Done!

For example, to pull the domain names from the list of email addresses, you select the *All after text* radio button and type @ in the box next to it. To extract the user names, you select the *All before text* radio button, as shown in the screenshot below.

And you will get the following results in a moment:

Apart from speed and simplicity, the Extract Text tool has extra value - it will help you learn Excel formulas in general and substring functions in particular. How? By selecting the **Insert as formula** checkbox at the bottom of the pane, you ensure that the results are output as formulas, not values.

In this example, if you select cells B2 and C2, you will see the following formulas, respectively:

- To extract username:
`=IFERROR(LEFT(A2,SEARCH("@",A2)-1),"")`

- To extract domain:
`=IFERROR(RIGHT(A2, LEN(A2)- SEARCH("@",A2) - LEN("@") + 1),"")`

How much time would it take you to figure out these formulas on your own? ;)

Since the results are formulas, the extracted substrings will update automatically as soon as any changes are made to the original strings. When new entries are added to your data set, you can copy the formulas to other cells as usual, without having to run the Extract Text tool anew.

If you are curious to try this as well as many other useful features included with Ultimate Suite for Excel, you are welcome to download evaluation version.

## More formulas for substrings in Excel

In this tutorial, we have demonstrated some classic Excel formulas to extract text from string. As you understand, there can be almost infinite variations of these basic scenarios. Below you will find a few more formula examples where the Text functions come in handy.

## Available downloads

Excel substring functions - practice workbook (.xlsx file)

Ultimate Suite - trial version (.exe file)

## 439 comments

I want to extract 200 from "200 Euro", "Euro 200", "Euro-200", "200 Euro - 500 Euro",

all are in a column.

Everything I read from Svetlana Cheusheva is always clear, straight forward and fill with examples. Damn I wish I knew more about MS Excel like her :o)

Thank you for your excellent postings

Hello!

Could you please help me to create a formula to obtain the information of the second and the third bracket:

[Ignacio] Status changed from [one] to [Tweleve]

[Carlos] Status changed from [hundred] to [five]

Thanks for you help!

Dear

Thanks For your Gide to separate W1 from {W1_21} that is sheet name of EXCEL generate from command of {MID(CELL("filename",A29),FIND("]",CELL("filename",A29))+1,255}

how can we pull numbers from any alphanumeric string using a formula.

Example-

asd123sd

123bhs23sd

sde234jh213

Hi!

I need to extract following words in my cells, which dont have any specific character and at the same time the amount of 1st words are not same:

LOOMBNB

BNBUSDT

I should separate BNB from a 1st line and USDT from the 2nd one. as you see, I cannot use Text-To-Columns as well.

please help!

Thanks

Hello! I have the below and depending on the length of my I need to pull everything up until the second hyphen so:

PRO85-2700-270S would become PRO85-2700

SPRI87-4000-400S would become SPRI87-4000

but then I have some strings with 3 hyphens and I only need to pull up to the 3 characters after the 2nd hyphen.

Example:

SLAE01-7000-330-7009-11 would become SLAE01-7000-330

I have a file with 7K+ rows so any helps would be AMAZING and greatly appreciated!!

Thanks!

Nancy

I am using the formula: =SUMIF(Laurie!$A:A,B2,Laurie!$E:$E) to try and get names of people from a separate worksheet tab (tab is named Laurie). But the cells in column E on the Laurie tab are not numbers but someones name. So basically if I put a number in column E cells on the Laurie tab it will show up correctly in my current worksheet tab.

But any names or non-numbers in the column E cells show up as 0 in my main worksheet. I am guessing this is because I am using the SUM function so it is trying to sum up any number in each cell in column E.

Anyone help for which function would be best to get the name (or words) form those cells in that column would be great.

Thanks.

The text string is "47 Nelson Street Kettering Northamptonshire NN16 8QN" in Cell A2.

Here I need the street(47 Nelson Street), Town(Kettering), county(Northamptonshire) and Code(NN16 8QN) in each separate cell of a row.

How to do this? Give me the formula for each retrieval.

Also, another string is "Ref. No: 19/00443/EPHMO Status: Current Licence Applicant Name: Mr Jack Oliver McLoughlin" in cell A3.

I need only the ref no (19/00443/EPHMO) and the name (Mr Jack Oliver McLoughlin) in separate cells.

Help me with these formulas.

Sir/madam,

If a cell contains variable numbers (0 to 6) if cell value is 1 instead of 1 it should display Sunday and so on. Please give me the solution in Microsoft excel.

Thanks.

I need to extract the first 3 numbers, between the 2nd and 3rd dash. The number of characters between the dash can vary between 3 and 4.

I purchased the suite and have also used the above formulas and can’t get it to work. It always extracts the complete string between the “-“. I must have it extract only the 1st 3 characters between the dashes.

Hi I'm Rahul Actually I'm new Learner Excel Can You Help Me in Excel

I am trying to extract all letter characters (to the right) following the numbers in the middle of each text line. For example, the first line, I would only need "BLUE CROSS BLU"

ACH DEPOSIT BCBS INC 462275727 101000011824415 BLUE CROSS BLU

ACH DEPOSIT HCCLAIMPMT 1932440070 031100200512323 AETNA A04

ACH DEPOSIT HCCLAIMPMT 1932440070 031100204517462 WPS

Any ideas on how I could do this?

Thanks!

i need help to identify in single cell with colour as we have three different things

5 Pkt -Tata Rallis Fungicide Captaf (Size=500 gm)- 309 -

1 Unit PGR Induce G 500 ml Rs. 515

1 Unit Humic Acid Roota 1 kg Rs. 850"

i want to extract name NEW SAHARA BEEJ BHANDAR-TIJARA from NEW SAHARA BEEJ BHANDAR-TIJARA-F C ABS (if sentence containing ABS) with the help of if condition.

Vishal,

Assuming your data is in A1, the following formula will help:

=LEFT(A1,FIND("-",A1,FIND("-",A1)+1)-1)

Thanks.formula works.And i have one more problem.If two cell of consecutive rows contain names.One cell having e.g name NEW RAJ BEEJ BHANDAR-NASIK-F C ABS & other cell having name NEW RAJ BEEJ BHANDAR-NASIK.Here i want to extract name NEW RAJ BEEJ BHANDAR from first cell if it contain ABS and otherwise it will remains the same if it doesn't contain ABS

Vishal,

for your second task, please try this one:

=IFERROR(IF(SEARCH("*ABS*",A1)>0,LEFT(A1, SEARCH("-",A1)-1),A1),A1)

Here are the articles for you to learn how these functions work:

IF function

SEARCH function

My problem is suppose if two consecutive rows contain names e.g 1st cell does contain name NEW RAJ BEEJ BHANDAR-NASIK-F C ABS and in 2 nd cell doescontain name NEW RAJ BEEJ BHANDAR-NASIK.Now i want to extract only the name NEW RAJ BEEJ BHANDAR-NASIK from name NEW RAJ BEEJ BHANDAR-NASIK-F C ABS (when cell contains ABS). Otherwise the name must remains the same as NEW RAJ BEEJ BHANDAR-NASIK (when it doesn't contain ABS)

I am trying extract only the GB information from a cell in Excel. However in my report, there is an unknown number of times that the GB information will appear and I have at least 2000 lines to go through.

A cell could look like this:

0 GB (0% or 1.0:1), 9 GB (31% or 1.5:1)

or like this:

453 GB (29% or 1.4:1), 728.25 GB (33% or 1.5:1), 422.25 GB (33% or 1.5:1), 923.5 GB (42% or 1.7:1), 705.5 GB (33% or 1.5:1)

I want to extract each occurrence of the GB amount (i.e. 0 GB, 9 GB from the first example above and 453 GB, 728.25 GB, 422.25 GB, 923.5 GB, 705.25 GB from the 2nd example above)

The ultimate goal is to be able to add the GB amounts together for each cell and get a total. I tried splitting the text, but because some of the cells have so many occurrences of GB's it didn't seem like a good choice.

Does anyone have any ideas?

Thank you in advance,

Joanne

Hello i'm trying to extract dimension from an item name column

E.g. item names are all in a column and one would be "White fence post 80x80 1.8M" but another might be "RT1 35x150 treated decking 4.8MT"

In these cases how do i pull out just those numbers?

I want to extract last 2 word before and after "-" in one formula

eg.

Abc-ccc-ddd, here I need ccc-ddd

Fff-hhh-kkk-yyy, here I need kkk-yyy

Kkkk-hhh, here I need kkkk-hhh

If I have this string:

Babababa{njnj}v_ANDREWGORT@andrew@gort.com

How do I extract the 'ANDREW' alone?

This is what I have:

=MID(C2,SEARCH("v_",C2)+2,SEARCH("GORT",C2, SEARCH("v_",C2)+2) - SEARCH("GORT",C2)-1)

It appears that "GORT" doesn't work. Is there any way to do this?

I have a data format like this "QA_CASE_1234_John_Smith" How do I extract John Smith in a separate cell without any underscore in John Smith name.