How to remove characters/text from string in Excel

The article looks at how to quickly remove part of text from Excel cells using formulas and inbuilt features.

In this tutorial, we will look at the most common cases of removing characters in Excel. Want to delete specific text from multiple cells? Or maybe strip the first or last character in a string? Or perhaps remove only a specific occurrence of a given character? Whatever your task is, you will find more than one solution for it!

How to remove specific character in Excel

If your goal is to eradicate a certain character from Excel cells, there are two easy ways to do it - the Find & Replace tool and a formula.

Remove character from multiple cells using Find and Replace

Bearing in mind that removing a character is nothing else than replacing it with nothing, you can leverage Excel's Find and Replace feature to accomplish the task.

  1. Select a range of cells where you want to remove a specific character.
  2. Press Ctrl + H to open the Find and Replace dialog.
  3. In the Find what box, type the character.
  4. Leave the Replace with box empty.
  5. Click Replace all.

As an example, here's how you can delete the # symbol from cells A2 through A6. Removing a given character from multiple cells

As the result, the hash symbol is removed from all of the selected cells at once, and a pop-up dialog informs you how many replacements have been made: The character is removed from all selected cells.

Tips and notes:

  • This method deletes characters directly in your source data. If the result is different from what you expected, press Ctrl + Z to undo the change and get your original data back.
  • If you are dealing with alphabetical characters where the letter case matters, click Options to expand the Find and Replace dialog, and then tick the Match case box to perform case-sensitive search.

Remove certain character from string using a formula

To eliminate a specific character from any position is a string, use this generic SUBSTITUTE formula:

SUBSTITUTE(string, char, "")

In our case, the formula takes this form:

=SUBSTITUTE(A2, "#", "")

Basically, what the formula does is that it processes the string in A2 and replaces each hash symbol (#) with an empty string ("").

Enter the above formula in B2, copy it down through B6, and you will get this result: Removing a certain character from a string

Please pay attention that SUBSTITUTE always returns a text string, even if the result contains only numbers like in cells B2 and B3 (notice the default left alignment typical for text values).

If you want the result to be a number, then wrap the above formula in the VALUE function like this:


Or you can perform some math operation that does not change the original value, say add 0 or multiply by 1:

=SUBSTITUTE(A2, "#", "")*1 Remove a character and return the result as a number.

Delete multiple characters at once

To remove multiple characters with one formula, simply nest SUBSTITUTE functions one into another.

For example, to get rid of a hash symbol (#), forward slash (/) and backslash (\), here's the formula to use:

=SUBSTITUTE(SUBSTITUTE(SUBSTITUTE(A2, "#",""), "/", ""), "\", "") Deleting multiple characters from a cell

Tips and notes:

  • The SUBSTITUTE function is case-sensitive, please keep that in mind when working with letters.
  • If you'd like to have the results as values independent on the original strings, use the Paste special - Values option to replace formulas with their values.
  • In situation when there are many different characters to remove, a custom LAMBDA-defined RemoveChars function is a lot more convenient to use.

How to remove certain text from Excel cell

The two methods we used for removing a single character can handle a sequence of characters equally well.

Delete text from multiple cells

To remove specific text from each cell in a selected range, press Ctrl + H to display the Find and Replace dialog, and then:

  • Enter the unwanted text in the Find what box.
  • Leave the Replace with box blank. Deleting specific text from multiple cells

Clicking the Replace All button will do all the replacements in one go: Part of text is removed from the selected cells.

Remove certain text from cell using a formula

To remove part of a text string, you again use the SUBSTITUTE function in its basic form:

SUBSTITUTE(cell, text, "")

For example, to delete the substring "mailto:" from cell A2, the formula is:

=SUBSTITUTE(A2, "mailto:", "")

This formula goes to B2, and then you drag it down across as many rows as needed: Removing specific text from a cell

How to remove Nth instance of a specific character

In situation when you want to delete a certain occurrence of a particular character, define the last optional argument of the SUBSTITUTE function. In the generic formula below, instance_num determines which instance of the specified character should be replaced with an empty string:

SUBSTITUTE(string, char, "", instance_num)

For example:

To eradicate the 1st slash in A2, your formula is:

=SUBSTITUTE(A2, "/", "", 1)

To strip the 2nd slash character, the formula is:

=SUBSTITUTE(A2, "/", "", 2) Formula to remove th instance of a specific character

How to remove first character

To remove the first character from the left side of a string, you can use one of the following formulas. Both do the same thing, but in different ways.

REPLACE(cell, 1, 1, "")

Translated into a human language, the formula says: in the specified cell, take 1 character (num_chars) from the 1st position (start_num), and replace it with an empty string ("").

RIGHT(cell, LEN(cell) - 1)

Here, we subtract 1 character from the total length of the string, which is calculated by the LEN function. The difference is passed to RIGHT for it to extract that number of characters from the end.

For instance, to remove the first character from A2, the formulas go as follows:

=REPLACE(A2, 1, 1, "")

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

The screenshot below shows the REPLACE formula. The RIGHT LEN formula will deliver exactly the same results. Removing the first character from a string

To delete any n characters from the beginning of a string, please see How to remove characters from left in Excel.

How to remove last character

To strip off the last character from the end of a string, the formula is:

LEFT(cell, LEN(cell) - 1)

The logic is similar to the RIGHT LEN formula from the previous example:

You subtract 1 from the total cell length and serve the difference to the LEFT function, so it can pull that many characters from the beginning of the string.

For instance, you can remove the last character from A2 using this formula:

=LEFT(A2, LEN(A2) - 1) Removing the last character from a cell

To delete any n characters from the end of a string, please see How to remove characters from right in Excel.

Remove text after a specific character

To delete everything after a given character, the generic formula is:

LEFT(string, SEARCH(char, string) -1)

The logic is quite simple: the SEARCH function calculates the position of the specified character and passes it over to the LEFT function, which brings the corresponding number of characters from the beginning. Not to output the delimiter itself, we subtract 1 from the SEARCH result.

For example, to remove text after a colon (:), the formula in B2 is:

=LEFT(A2, SEARCH(":", A2) -1) Formula to remove text after a specific character

For more formula examples, please see Delete text before or after a certain character.

How to remove spaces before and after text in Excel

In text processors such as Microsoft Word, a whitespace before text is sometimes added intentionally to create a balanced and elegant flow for the reader's eye. In spreadsheets programs, leading and trailing spaces may creep unnoticed and cause a lot of problems. Luckily, Microsoft Excel has a special function, named TRIM, to delete extra spaces.

The formula to remove excess spaces from cells is as simple as this:


Where A2 is your original text string.

As you can see in the image below, it deletes all spaces before text, after text and between words/substrings except for a single space character. Removing spaces before and after text

If this simple formula does not work for you, then most likely there are some non-breaking spaces or non-printing characters in your worksheet.

To get rid of them, convert non-breaking spaces into regular spaces with the help of SUBSTITUTE:

SUBSTITUTE(A2, CHAR(160), " ")

Where 160 is the code number of a non-breaking space character ( ).

Additionally, use the CLEAN function to eliminate non-printable characters:


Nest the above construction in the TRIM function, and you'll get a perfect formula to remove spaces before/after text as well as non-breaking spaces and non-printing characters:


For more information, please see How to remove spaces in Excel.

Remove characters in Excel with Flash Fill

In simple scenarios, Excel's Flash Fill can do you a favor and remove characters or part of text automatically based on the pattern that you provide.

Let's say you have a name and email address in one cell separated by a comma. You want to remove everything after the comma (including the comma itself). To have it done, carry out these steps:

  1. Insert a blank column to the right of your source data.
  2. In the first cell of a newly added column, type the value you want to keep (name in our case).
  3. Start typing the value in the next cell. As soon as Excel determines the pattern, it will show a preview of data to be filled in the below cells following the same pattern.
  4. Press the Enter key to accept the preview.

Done! Removing part of text with Flash Fillt

Note. If Excel is unable to recognize a pattern in your data, fill in a couple more cells manually to provide more examples. Also, make sure Flash Fill is enabled in your Excel. If it still does not work, then you'll have to resort to some other method.

Special tools to remove characters or text in Excel

This final section presents our own solutions for removing text from Excel cells. If you love finding simple ways to handle complex challenges, you'll enjoy the handy tools included with Ultimate Suite.

On the Ablebits Data tab, in the Text group, there are three options for removing characters from Excel cells:

  • Specific characters and substrings
  • Characters in a certain position
  • Duplicate characters
Special tools to remove characters and text in Excel

To delete a specific character or substring from selected cells, proceed in this way:

  1. Click Remove > Remove Characters.
  2. Select the option best suited to your needs.
  3. Check or uncheck the Case-sensitive box.
  4. Hit Remove.

Below are a few examples that cover the most typical scenarios.

Remove specific character

To remove a particular character(s) from multiple cells at once, select Remove custom characters.

As an example, we are deleting all occurrences of the uppercase letters A and B from the range A2:A4: Remove multiple characters from multiple cells at once

Delete a predefined character set

To remove a certain set of characters, select Remove character sets, and then choose one of the following options:

  • Non-printing characters­ - strips off any of the first 32 characters in the 7-bit ASCII set (code values 0 through 31) including a tab character, line break, and so on.
  • Text characters - removes text and keeps numbers.
  • Numeric characters - deletes numbers from alphanumeric strings.
  • Symbols & punctuation marks - removes special symbols and punctuation marks such as a period, question mark, exclamation point, comma, etc. Delete a predefined character set.

Remove part of text

To delete part of a string, choose the Remove a substring option.

For example, to extract usernames from Gmail addresses, we are removing the "" substring: Removing part of a string

That's how to remove text and characters from Excel cells. I thank you for reading and look forward to seeing you on our blog next week!

Available downloads

Remove characters in Excel - examples (.xlsm file)
Ultimate Suite - evaluation version (.exe file)


  1. hi sir alexander,
    i have 123400000567890 in A1, i want to replace zeros with "-" like this: 1234-567890
    sometimes zeros changes like this, 432100000009876 and i want to replace it with 4321-9876
    or sometimes like this, 789000000012345 and replace it with 7890-12345
    number in A1 is always 15 digits and i want to replace consecutive zeros after the 4 digits with "-"
    is it possible?? thanks in advance

  2. Thank you So So So much. It helped me a lot.

  3. Original data
    40 Test1
    5 Test2
    139 Test3


    6.1 moving
    2.2 NDT
    6.3.3 refurbishment
    6.4.1 documenting documenting2


    I spent hours to find solution, your help is greatly appreciated.

  4. If have a line like this " @Raja @rani @john @will you are so sweeet!. so I want to delete the name after @ with @ sign. Be clear I want to delete the name with @. Means output will be only " you are so sweeet!". How I delete all the name at a time so only meaningful sentence will output.?

    • Hi!
      To find all substrings in the text that match the pattern and remove them, the custom function RegExpReplace is used. It is used to replace the text. To remove substrings matching the pattern, use an empty string ("") to replace them.
      You can find the examples and detailed instructions here: Excel Regex to remove certain characters or text from strings.

      @.*?\s\b - pattern
      =RegExpReplace(A1, "@.*?\s\b", "", 1) - formula

      I recommend paying attention to the Regex tools. You can find, extract, remove, or replace strings that match a regex pattern you enter. It is available as a part of our Ultimate Suite for Excel that you can install in a trial mode and check how it works for free.

  5. Hi,

    I have a question with the string, provide a dummy as below:

    A AA AAA AAAA ICPxxdays xx/xx/xxxx CC123456 BBBBB

    And I wish to get the text only CC123456.

  6. I have series of strings
    The result would be:

    i want remove
    These values in bulk i have more than 3000+data like this
    Note: Text to columns not for me"

    Please answer my query thanks in advance

  7. Hello Alex and albeit team, do you mind helping me write a formula based on these sets of data?

    so the original data would be: Social Media Group(

    and the result I'm expecting:

    I used this formula
    even tried the ones with "LEN", I cannot seem to find the solution.

    thank you

      • tried this from above samples and seems to have worked as well...

        =SUBSTITUTE((SUBSTITUTE(C15,"Social Media Group(","")),")","")

  8. Dear Concern,

    I have a list of data as below around 9000 row. From each of row I want to remove all text after "M" (3000M). How can I do this please advise. Thanks.

    Eco Poly; 100% Premium Poly Poly Corespun; Tex-60; Tkt-50; 3000M (44049)

    Best regrads,
    Mahbub Ar Rashid
    Dhaka, Bangladesh

  9. A2 = Party's Name
    B2 = Address with pin

    A2 - Aaditi Krushi Seva Kendra-Lingali
    B2 - Aaditi Krushi Seva Kendra-Lingali & his full address

    I have data in 2000 row, I want in C2 only address without party's Name.
    Can you help me

    • Hi!
      Based on your description, it is hard to completely understand your task. However, I’ll try to guess and offer you the following formula:


      You can learn more about SUBSTITUTE function in Excel in this article on our blog.

  10. A2 B2
    Party's Name Address with pin
    Aaditi Krushi Seva Kendra-Lingali "Aaditi Krushi Seva Kendra-Lingali, (full address)
    Aaditya Krushi Seva Kendra-Nitrud Aaditya Krushi Seva Kendra-Nitrud (full address)
    Aae Pedkae K.S.Kendra, Ashte Aae Pedkae K.S.Kendra, Ashte (full address)

    have data in Large number of row, I want in C2 only address without party's Name.
    Can you help me

  11. How can I clean this:


    I want to get rid of the letter and the underscore only.

  12. Is there a way to remove three words from an excel spreadsheet. the three words needing to be removed from each cell are all of different lengths but are all separated by a space

  13. Hi Alexander,

    I have name ABC Travels and Tours in A1 and in A2 i have used following formula =TRIM(LEFT(A1,FIND("^",SUBSTITUTE(A1," ","^",2)&"^"))) to arrive at the following result: ABC Travels.

    Now instead of Travels just require Travel so what will be the formula that i can use.


      • Dear Alexander,

        Thank you for your reply, I tried the formula you suggested, However it gives the result with one character less for the words in second place.
        Since I have data in thousand of rows and i only want the result with one less character of particular word i.e Travels and formula should give me the result as Travel.


          • Hello!

            Yes Correct.

            • Hello Alexander,

              I have figured out the following formula.

              =TRIM(LEFT(A1,FIND("^",SUBSTITUTE(SUBSTITUTE(A1," ","^",2),"TRAVELS"," ")&"^")))

              will above formula be consistent and work smoothly?


              • =TRIM(LEFT(A1,FIND("^",SUBSTITUTE(SUBSTITUTE(A1," ","^",2),"TRAVELS"," ")&"^")))

                Note: After Travels in inverted commas i have kept 5 spaces

  14. Hello :)

    I need to remove the last digits in a string of text eg “Thomas Andrew jeffery 5555” the length of number at the end may vary

  15. Hello, I want to remove all the characters to the right of the date sequence.

    The date sequence is written as Year,Month , Day.

    All I want after its done is for the data in each column to remain.

    Example of unmodified cells:


    How I want it to look afterward:


    What im ultimately trying to do is have the Date in one Column and what comes after the date in another column. However the person who started it this was listen the data and the title in the same string.

    Ultimately it would look like this:

    20110904 Acts1_1-3.mp3
    20110911 Acts1_4-8.mp3
    20110918 Acts2_1-4.mp3

  16. Hi,

    I have the following text on a cell: Matthew Stafford\StafMa00
    and I need to only have Last Name, First Name (Stafford, Matthew)

    Thanks so much!

  17. Hi,

    I need to adjust a sequence of numbers for an efficient pivot sheet, right now I manually remove the additional characters and it’s extremely time consuming. An example is below:

    Ping: James Carpenter 38754689 15
    Ping: James Carpenter 38763532 15
    Ping: Janet Jackson 47627645 15
    Ping: Ming Lee 47657374 15
    Ping: Seymour Leften 36875267 15

    I just need “Ping: (first/last name)” or “Ping: James Carpenter…

    What formula could I use to simplify each cell in order to save time on my pivot sheets?


  18. Hi, hope you can help me.
    I have a sheet that contains cells with data I do not want. Such as:
    "View profile"
    "Add Phil Nock to selection"
    They all have a pattern, in the sense that the cells I do not want all have a pattern throughout the sheet, either containing a whole word in a cell like "add" or with text that follows the common word "add Phil Nock..."

    I have a list of common words that are found after i have sorted my list to satisfaction, but have no clue how to "Find" a word in a cell, and "remove" who whole cell if that word is found, whether it is in whole or in part "add" or "add Phil..."

  19. i have case about IP

    i need to remove the last character after "." and add with "0/24"
    the result should be

  20. Thank you so much... you just saved me many hours... :-)

  21. Sir i want to remove text into columns from every cells but i can't find any solution .It is very difficult for me .
    following text is to be extract:
    Saadan Hospital (Johar Town) Rs. 1,500Available todayRs. 1,500 Iqra Medical Complex (Ext.) (Johar Town) Rs. 2,000Available tomorrowRs. 2,000 Zainab Medical Centre (Wapda Town) (Wapda Town) Rs. 1,500Available todayRs. 1,500 Online Video Consultation (Online) Rs. 1,200Available todayRs. 1,200 Tahir Hospital (Raiwind Road) Rs. 1,500 Schedule: N/ARs. 1,500

    Sir i want to extract in following type
    Saadan Hospital (Johar Town), Iqra Medical Complex (Ext.) (Johar Town), Zainab Medical Centre (Wapda Town), Tahir Hospital (Raiwind Road)

    Thanks M Mushahid

  22. I have series of strings
    in the same column

    I want to remove "UNUNK" from UNUNK1986 and "UN" from UNJUN1986 and need to apply text join in next column.

    Thank you

  23. Hi I have a string of reviews mined from a review site like this:

    Trish Mar 30 2022 9:09 pm
    This series moved me to tears quite a few times. BRILLIANT acting by all actors and actresses involved. Thank You for your hard work. CHEERS!

    How do I remove the name and date/time for all 1518 rows?

  24. Vehicle number
    1st case

    GJ5AB9998 need to add 0 before 5
    Need to see like GJ05AB9998

    2nd case

    Need add 0 before 998

  25. Hi,

    I have the following string in a cell:
    ME.SA.02.14 (MSG)

    I need a formula that would help me get the following string ME.SA.02 (MSG)

  26. Hello,

    I have a string in a cell 0108997237110515211116342164401725022810TMC22009

    I want to extract 21111634216440 from it and paste that at the back after 9

    is this possible ?

  27. Hi guys,

    I was wondering if the CTRL+H option can be done automatically.

    I mean, when I scan an article on Excel there is always a #00 after the code (ex: BDC#00). Is there a VBA to remove automatically the #00 on range B8:B20 after to press Enter and keep only "BDC"?

    Thank you a lot for your help.


      • Hi Alex,

        thanks for your reply. However and due to another VBA, cells cannot have any functions. It has to be only with a VBA code such as

        Private Sub Workbook_SheetChange(ByVal Sh As Object, ByVal Target As Range)

        Do you have any idea how to build this VBA`?

        Thanks you so much.


  28. thank you!

  29. I'm trying to combine a RIGHT/LEN to remove the first X# of characters, which is fine, but I'm trying to leverage a vlookup to get the value to remove. I can nest the VLOOKUP in the RIGHT formula, but can't seem to figure out how to add the LEN after that lookup and reference the value the VLOOKUP is returning. Any suggestions without doing 2 columns of lookups?

    • Logically, what I want it something like this =RIGHT(VLOOKUP.....),LEN(*result of the vlookup),-10

  30. This is very helpful. God bless you ?

  31. Well done!!

  32. Is it possible to remove strings of text from other cells if they repeat in a previous cell? I am trying to do this with any random partial duplicates. I am trying keep the first occurrence of a string but delete that string from other cells.

    For example, I want to delete any strings that repeat and are more than 2 characters long.


    Since "ab" is in the first cell and also the 5th cell, is it possible to delete the "ab" in the 5th cell? So the first cell will still be "abc" but the 5th will change to "dgi".

    "de" also repeats in 2nd and 6th cell, "de" to only remain in the 2nd cell but be deleted in the 6th cell. 2nd cell will remain "def" but the 6th cell will change to "atyk".

    Is this possible? I have been looking it up for hours but can't seem to find a solution.

    Thank you very much.

    • Hi!
      A formula may only modify the value of the cell into which it is written. Your task cannot be solved using ordinary Excel formulas. You need to use the VBA macro.

  33. This helped me solve CSV files where the broker Binance had spammed USDT and commas in every line!

  34. try this in MS Word's find and replace:

    Find: space^p
    Replace with: ^p
    Replace All , several times until trailing spaces (or space) at the end deleted

    ^p is a special character for replaces Enter (paragraph mark)
    for another purposes, look at More - Special

  35. I'm looking for a way to remove the last character (generally a space) at the end of a cell in WORD 2019.
    This space is generally included when I copy a spreadsheet from EXCEL to WORD.

    I can not find a way for the WORD 2019 to find the Cell Mark at the end of a cell in Word. If I can do this, I can concatenate the character + the cell mark and type ^H to call the find and replace window.

    Best Regards,
    Julio Borges
    Rio de Janeiro - Brasil

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