Using the LEFT, RIGHT, and MID Functions

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Using the LEFT, RIGHT, and MID Functions

Using the LEFT, RIGHT, and MID Functions

The LEFT and RIGHT functions are used to return characters from the start or end of a string. For example, you could use the LEFT and RIGHT functions to:

  1. Return the area codes from a list of phone numbers (if the phone numbers are formatted as 315-333-4444, you would use the LEFT function to return the first three characters).
  2. Return the zip codes from a list of addresses (if the addresses are formatted as Syracuse, NY 13210, you would use the RIGHT function to return the last five characters).
  3. Return a piece of an identifying ID (if you have a list of IDs in which the first four digits represent a product, the next six digits represent the date, and the last three digits represent the store the product was sold from, you could use the LEFT function to return the four digits representing the product or the RIGHT function to return the three digits representing the store the product was sold from).

To use the LEFT and RIGHT functions:

  1. On the FORMULAS tab, in the Function Library group, click the Insert Function command:Insert Function Command
  2. In the Insert Function dialog box:
    1. Search on "LEFT" or "RIGHT" or, in the Or select a category drop-down box, select Text.
    2. Under Select a function, select LEFT or RIGHT.
    3. Click OK.LEFT or RIGHT Function
  3. In the Function Arguments dialog box:
    1. In the Text field, enter the cell containing the text string from which you wish to return characters.
    2. In the Num_Chars field, enter the number of characters you want to return.
    3. Click OK.OK Option

The MID Function

The MID function is used when you want to return a specific amount of characters from a string of text. You specify the number of characters.

To use the MID function:

  • On the FORMULAS tab, in the Function Library group, click the Insert Function command:Insert Function Command
  • In the Insert Function dialog box:
    1. Search on "MID" or, in the Or select a category drop-down box, select Text.
    2. Under Select a function, select MID.
    3. Click OK.MID Function
  • In the Function Arguments dialog box:
    1. In the Text field, enter the cell that you want to extract the text from.
    2. In the Start_num field, enter the position of the first character that you wish to extract.
    3. In the Num_Chars field, enter the number of characters you want to return.
    4. Click OK.OK Option
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