Mastering the Left Search Function in Excel


Excel is a tool that is widely used for data management and analysis in various professions. The left search function in Excel is one of the most powerful features that can help you find specific information in a long list or database. With this function, you can easily extract certain characters from a string, and it can save you a lot of time when working with large amounts of data.


1. Understanding the Left Search Function

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

The left search function is used to extract specific characters from the beginning of a cell’s text string. It works by searching the text from left to right and returning the number of characters specified by the user. For example, if you want to extract the first three characters from a cell’s text string, you would use “=LEFT(A1,3)”.

2. Syntax

Using Excel’s LEFT Formula | Deskbright

The syntax for using the left search function is simple. You need to provide two arguments: the cell reference or text string and the number of characters that you want to extract. For instance, “=LEFT(A1,3)” means that you are extracting three characters from cell A1.

3. Using Wildcards

Excel wildcard: find and replace, filter, use in formulas with text and …

You can also use wildcards with the left search function to find specific patterns in your data. For example, if you want to find all cells that contain a certain word or phrase at the beginning, you would use “=LEFT(A1,len(“word”))=”word””. Here “len” refers to length and “word” refers to any word or phrase.

4. Filling Down

Using Excel’s LEFT Formula | Deskbright

Once you’ve extracted certain characters using the left search function for one cell, it’s easy to fill down for other cells in your database or list by simply copying and pasting down.


In conclusion, mastering Excel’s left search function can significantly improve your efficiency when working with large amounts of data. By understanding its functionality and syntax while incorporating wildcards as needed, it will enable quicker and more accurate finding of specific information.

Using Excel’s LEFT Formula | Deskbright
Combining Excel’s LEFT and Find Functions
Learn how to extract part of the contents of a cell in Excel. One way to do this is by using two functions in one formula: LEFT and FIND. It’s easier than it might sound. Watch this video to find out how to do it! ***Support Technology for Teachers and Students on Patreon***: Here’s my …

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