LEFT, LEFTB Function

Description

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

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

What is the difference between LEFT and LEFTB?

LEFT is intended for use with languages that use the single-byte character set (SBCS), whereas LEFTB is intended for use with languages that use the double-byte character set (DBCS). The default language setting on your computer affects the return value in the following way:

  • LEFT always counts each character, whether single-byte or double-byte, as 1, no matter what the default language setting is.
  • LEFTB counts each double-byte character as 2 when you have enabled the editing of a language that supports DBCS and then set it as the default language. Otherwise, LEFTB counts each character as 1.

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

Syntax

LEFT(text, [num_chars])
LEFTB(text, [num_bytes])

Parameters

Text Required. 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.

Examples

Example 1: LEFT

The example may be easier to understand if you copy A1:C5 to a blank worksheet.

1
2
3
4
5
A B C
Formula Result Description
=LEFT("Excel 2013",5) Excel Returns first five characters in the string.
=LEFT("Excel 2013") E num_chars is omitted, it is assumed to be 1, returns first character.
=LEFT("Excel 2013",1) E Returns first character in the string.
=LEFT("Excel 2013",15) Excel 2013 Num_chars is greater than the length of text, returns all characters.

Example 2: LEFTB

=LEFTB("中国香港",2)

equals "中". LEFTB returns the first 2 characters, because each character is counted as 2.

=LEFT("中国香港",2)

equals "中国". LEFT returns the first 2 characters, because each character is counted as 1. LEFT returns the first 2 characters no matter what the default language setting is on your computer.

Video training

See also: Excel text functions

ASC
Changes full-width (double-byte) English letters or katakana within a character string to half-width (single-byte) characters
BAHTTEXT
Converts a number to text, using the ß (baht) currency format
CHAR
Returns the character specified by the code number
CLEAN
Removes all nonprintable characters from text
CODE
Returns a numeric code for the first character in a text string
CONCATENATE
Joins several text items into one text item
DOLLAR
Converts a number to text, using the $ (dollar) currency format
EXACT
Checks to see if two text values are identical
FIND, FINDB
Finds one text value within another (case-sensitive)
FIXED
Formats a number as text with a fixed number of decimals
WIDECHAR
Changes half-width (single-byte) English letters or katakana within a character string to full-width (double-byte) characters
LEFT, LEFTB
Returns the leftmost characters from a text value
LEN, LENB
Returns the number of characters in a text string
LOWER
Converts text to lowercase
MID, MIDB
Returns a specific number of characters from a text string starting at the position you specify
PHONETIC
Extracts the phonetic (furigana) characters from a text string
PROPER
Capitalizes the first letter in each word of a text value
REPLACE, REPLACEB
Replaces characters within text
REPT
Repeats text a given number of times
RIGHT, RIGHTB
Returns the rightmost characters from a text value
SEARCH, SEARCHB
Finds one text value within another (not case-sensitive)
SUBSTITUTE
Substitutes new text for old text in a text string
T
Converts its arguments to text
TEXT
Formats a number and converts it to text
TRIM
Removes spaces from text
UPPER
Converts text to uppercase
VALUE
Converts a text argument to a number

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