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6 Essential TEXT functions in Excel with 6 Everyday Examples

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Excel text functions are useful for cleaning up text / alphanumeric values, extracting parts of cell and presenting combined results in output pages. In this article, learn the most important TEXT Functions in Excel with 6 everyday examples.

6 important Excel text functions

The 6 Important Text Functions

LEFT Function

Use LEFT function to extract portion of text from left.

Examples:

=LEFT(“Chandoo”, 2) will be Ch
=LEFT(A1, 4) will be first 4 letters of A1 value

RIGHT Function

Use RIGHT function to extract portion of text from right.

Examples:

=RIGHT(“Chandoo”, 2) will be oo
=RIGHT(LEFT(A1, 4),2) will be two letters from the middle, starting from 3rd letter of A1.

MID Function

Use MID function to extract portion of text from middle, from a specified starting point.

Examples:

=MID(“Chandoo”, 5, 2) will be do
=MID(“Chandoo”, 4, 99) will be doo

LEN Function

LEN function measures the length of a text in number of characters.

Examples:

=LEN(“Chandoo”) will be 7
=LEN(A1) will be the length of contents in A1. If A1 is empty, this will be 0.

FIND Function

Find the starting position of a text in another text using FIND function.

Examples:

=FIND(“do”, “Chandoo”) will be 5

=FIND(“DO”, “Chandoo”) will be error as find is a case-sensitive function

=SEARCH(“DO”, “Chandoo”) will be 5. 

TEXTJOIN Function

Combine (concatenate) a bunch of values with a specified delimiter.

Examples:

=TEXTJOIN(“,”,FALSE, “Chandoo”,”Jon”,”Mike”) will be Chandoo,Jon,Mike

=TEXTJOIN(” “, TRUE, A1:A10) will combine all non-empty values  in range A1:A10 with space as delimiter.

Learn more about TEXTJOIN function.

The 6 Everyday Examples

Now that you know the 6 important functions, let’s see them applied in 6 everyday situations.

For the purpose of these examples, we will use below sample tabular data & structural references.text-functions-sample-data

1) Gender code (M for male, F for female)

Use the formula =LEFT([@Gender], 1) to get make the gender letter code.

2) Extract first name from name

Use the formula =LEFT([@Name],FIND(” “,[@Name])-1) to get the first name.

FIND gets the position of space, left gets everything before that.

3) Extract last name from name

Try the formula =MID([@Name],FIND(” “,[@Name])+1,99) to get the last name.

FIND gets the position of space, mid  gets everything after that.

4) Print name in Last name, First name format

The formula =MID([@Name],
FIND(” “,[@Name])+1,99)
&”, “&LEFT([@Name],FIND(” “,[@Name])-1)
will convert value in Name column to last name, first name format.

It is a combination of the formulas shown in 2 & 3.

5) Combine all male staff names in to one cell

The formula =TEXTJOIN(“, “,TRUE, IF(staff[Gender]=”Male”, staff[Name],””))
will return all male staff names in the table staff.

The IF formula generates a list of all male names or blanks. TEXTJOIN ignores the blanks (second parameter is TRUE) and combines the values with a comma as separator.

6) Word count of a sentence

Assuming you have sentence in cell D6, the formula

=LEN(D6)-LEN(SUBSTITUTE(D6,” “,””))+1

will tell you its word count. 

The SUBSTITUTE formula removes any spaces (by subbing them with nothing) and LEN is used to measure the length.

Download the sample file

Click here to download the sample file and practice these functions.

Important Text Functions in Excel Video

If you want a video guide that explains these functions in detail, check it out below or find it on my YouTube channel.

Need a text function? Tell me in comments

Are you trying to make formula to get something done with text in Excel? Let me know in comments what you need and I will try to help.

Also, if you have a favorite Excel text formula trick or patterns, share it so we all learn from each other.

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11 Responses to “6 Essential TEXT functions in Excel with 6 Everyday Examples”

  1. Dermot McGlone says:

    Hi Chandoo,

    I love these formulae, and use them regularly. The one thing I always have trouble with is where people have two first names or two (or more) parts to their surname, without a hyphen. For example, my surname is "McGlone", but it can (and often is) written as "Mc Glone", or in Ireland's other native language (Irish/Gaelic) "Mac Giolla Eoin" - note the space(s). I have a friend whose first name is "Lesley Ann" - again with a space not a hyphen.

    I find this can create all sorts of anomalies when trying to extract different parts of a name, and is useful for people to be aware of. The one tip I have for this is to ALWAYS check your data afterwards, and BEFORE deleting the original data - I've learned this to my cost!

    • Chandoo says:

      Excellent points Dermot. At least with formulas we can control what we are getting. If we use flash fill or Power Query > Column from Examples option, we are not sure how Excel got there.

  2. jomili says:

    The link to the sample file leads to the video. On the YouTube page, the link to the sample file leads back to this page. And round and round we go.

  3. I keep many databases in Excel. I have to convert small parts of them to csv for different marketing platforms(e-newsletter etc.)

    I would love tips to keep my databases in excel easier, sorting them. ex yearly calendar for multiple dates of birthdays, anniversaries, children birthdays, spouse birthdays, etc. Or to keep detailed notes over the years in different rows of things we spoke about.
    What social media they are one. Are we friends? Are we referring business? What is their dog's name.

    Yes I have tried putting them in many CRMs over the years, but I have to be a programmer to get all my data and manage it. Too much trouble. So I am back to Excel.

    How to avoid being a spammer when you have a large database?

    I love concatenate. I use Excel everyday! Love your tips! I have been a big fan for years!

  4. Duncan Williamson says:

    Then there's the TEXT() function itself that we can use for stuff like this.

    A1 = 1
    A2 = 3
    C1 = A1/A2 ... of course the answer is 0.333333333333333

    So, enter this in C1 =TEXT(A1/A2,"0.0000") = 0.3333

    If all the above stays the same, except that A1=10000, then:

    C1=TEXT(A1/A2,"#,000.00") = 3,333.33

    Real world example, with A1=1 again:

    E1="Out of all the wool provided by the black sheep, "&TEXT(A1/A2,"#0.00%")&" is for the master!"

    We now see this in cell E1 ...

    Out of all the wool provided by the black sheep, 33.33% is for the master!

  5. Dan says:

    I feel TEXTJOIN is especially a nice new formula from excel because of its ability to join text with a delimiter. It can join text in a cell range easily too. Something which we cannot say for CONCATENATE or the ampersand symbol (&)

  6. Aaron says:

    Spreadsheets, once synonymous with HR, have become unsustainable in the evolving world of work. Read on to understand why they aren’t geared to face the challenges of complex HR processes, and how people analytics is the way forward. http://www.peoplehum.com/blog/the-fall-of-spreadsheets-and-the-rise-of-people-analytics

  7. Priya says:

    Your Mutual fund tracker good.
    I have added all the mutual fund with date of purchase ,NAV ,unit etc.
    But If i want check investment vs current value for particular fund then we need to manual select and check the total. is there anyway to group those also can you add additional column to make purpose/goal of Mutual fund

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