# LEFT Function in Excel – Formula, How to Use?(Examples)

The LEFT formula in Excel is like a magic tool that can take out some of the letters from the words. For example, let’s say we have a word “banana” and we want to take out only “ban” from it. We can use the LEFT formula to make it “ban”. It’s like taking out a toy from a toy box, we can take out some letters from a word and make it into a new word. It’s really fun and we can use it to make our words shorter or get specific information from it.

Excel’s LEFT formula is a powerful tool that allows you to extract a specific number of characters from the left side of a text string in a cell. This can be useful for extracting specific information from a larger text string or for creating new text strings from existing ones.

Here’s an example of how to use the LEFT formula with a table of sample data:

 A B C 1 Cities Formula Output 2 New York =LEFT(A2,3) New 3 Mumbai =LEFT(A3,2) Mu 4 New Delhi =LEFT(A4,3) New 5 Gurgaon =LEFT(A5,2) Gu 6 Kolkata =LEFT(A6,3) Kol 7 Bangalore =LEFT(A7,3) Ban

The syntax for the LEFT formula is as follows:

=LEFT(text, num_chars)

text: is the cell that contains the text you want to extract characters from. In the table above, this is column A.

num_chars: is the number of characters you want to extract from the left side of the text. In the table above, this is 3 for the first formula.

In the example above, we are extracting the first 3 characters of the first formula, so that the final output will be “New”.

As you can see, the LEFT formula can be a useful tool for extracting specific information from a larger text string in Excel. It’s a simple formula but can save you a lot of time if you have a lot of text data to work with and you need to extract specific information from it.

3 use cases of LEFT formula in Excel.

1. Extracting specific information: One common use case for the LEFT formula is to extract specific information from a larger text string. For example, if you have a list of names and you want to extract just the first name, you can use the LEFT formula to extract the first x number of characters from the left side of the name.
2. Extracting prefixes or codes: Another use case for the LEFT formula is to extract prefixes or codes from a larger text string. For example, if you have a list of product codes and you want to extract the prefix of the code, you can use the LEFT formula to extract the first x number of characters from the left side of the code.
3. Creating new text strings: The LEFT formula can also be used to create new text strings from existing ones. For example, you have a list of full name and you want to create a new column for initials, you can use the LEFT formula to extract the first letter from each name in that column.

The LEFT formula is a versatile tool that can be used in many different ways to extract specific information from text data in Excel. It can save a lot of time and effort, especially when working with large amounts of data and you need to extract specific information from it.

Top mistakes users make while using LEFT formula in Excel.

1. Not referencing the correct cell: One common mistake users make when using the LEFT formula is not referencing the correct cell in the formula. This can result in the formula not working as intended or returning an error. To avoid this mistake, make sure to double-check that you are referencing the correct cell in the formula.
2. Specifying incorrect number of characters: Another mistake users make is specifying an incorrect number of characters to extract in the formula. This can result in the wrong characters being extracted or the formula not working as intended. To avoid this mistake, make sure to double-check the number of characters you want to extract.
3. Not using absolute references: When using the LEFT formula, some users forget to use absolute references, which can cause errors or unexpected results when the formula is copied to other cells. To avoid this mistake, make sure to use absolute references when necessary.

It’s important to take care when using the LEFT formula in Excel, as small mistakes can result in errors or unexpected results. By double-checking the formula, testing it on a small sample of data, using absolute references when necessary and considering the data type of the cell, you can avoid these common mistakes and use the formula effectively.

The alternative(s) to LEFT formula in Excel.

There are several alternative formulas to the LEFT formula in Excel:

1. MID: This formula allows you to extract a specific number of characters from the middle of a text string, by specifying the starting position and number of characters.
2. Text to Columns: This feature, under the Data tab, allows you to split a cell containing multiple values, by a delimiter, into multiple columns.
3. VBA (Visual Basic for Applications) code: You can use VBA code to extract characters from the left side of a text string.
4. Power Query (Get & Transform) : This feature, under the Data tab, allows you to clean and transform your data using a graphical interface, including the ability to extract characters from the left side of a text string.

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