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LEFT, LEFTB functions: Description, Usage, Syntax, Examples and Explanation

What are LEFT, LEFTB functions in Excel?

LEFT, LEFTB functions are  TEXT functions in Microsoft Excel.

LEFT returns the first character or characters in a text string, based on the number of characters you specify.

While, LEFTB returns the first character or characters in a text string, based on the number of bytes you specify.

Important:

  • These functions may not be available in all languages.
  • LEFTB counts 2 bytes per character only when a DBCS language is set as the default language. Otherwise LEFTB behaves the same as LEFT, counting 1 byte per character.
Also See:   How to split text string at specific character in Excel

The languages that support DBCS include Japanese, Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), and Korean.

Syntax of LEFT, LEFTB functions

LEFT(text, [num_chars])

LEFTB(text, [num_bytes])

The function syntax has the following arguments:

  • Text:  The text string that contains the characters you want to extract.
  • Num_chars(Optional): Specifies the number of characters you want LEFT to extract.
    • Num_chars must be greater than or equal to zero.
    • If num_chars is greater than the length of text, LEFT returns all of text.
    • If num_chars is omitted, it is assumed to be 1.
  • Num_bytes(Optional) Specifies the number of characters you want LEFTB to extract, based on bytes.
Also See:   Remove first character in a cell in Excel

Example of LEFT, LEFTB functions

Example 1: LEFT

Steps to follow:

1. Open a new Excel worksheet.

2. Copy data in the following table below and paste it in cell A1

Note: For formulas to show results, select them, press F2 key on your keyboard and then press Enter.

You can adjust the column widths to see all the data, if need be.

Data
Sale Price
Sweden
Formula Description Result
=LEFT(A2,4) First four characters in the first string Sale
=LEFT(A3) First character in the second string S
Also See:   Count Number of Words in Excel

Example 2: LEFTB

Note: First set to your computer to a default language that supports DBCS

Steps to follow:

1. Open a new Excel worksheet.

2. Copy data in the following table below and paste it in cell A1

Note: For formulas to show results, select them, press F2 key on your keyboard and then press Enter.You can adjust the column widths to see all the data, if need be.

Data
Sale Price
Sweden
Formula Description Result
=LEFT(A2,4) First four characters in the first string Sale
=LEFT(A3) First character in the second string S

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