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MS Excel: It’s All About the Right and Left of the Thing

Ever found yourself staring at a column of data trying desperately to figure out how you’re going to peel out the portion of the data in each cell that you actually need?

Maybe you’ve got a string of part numbers which are maybe all 8 characters long and for your purposes you only need the last 6 characters…

Whatever situation along these lines that you can imagine that would apply to you probably brings with it a sense of frustration.

After all, it’s a lot of work to alter every piece of data in the column even if you are removing only the first two characters of each.

We all know that there has to be an easier way – and of course there is – you just have to know the right (and left) formulas.

They’re really quite easy to use. They will peel out of a string of data either the first (left) “x” number of characters or the last (right) “x” number of characters with a simple formula.

Here’s all you need to know:

Start in the cell where you want your separated data to be.

Use the appropriate formula

=Left(cell address of data, number of characters to keep)


=Right(cell address of data, number of characters to keep)

That’s it… with one of those extremely easy to use and remember formulas you can quickly strip out of the data the portion that you actually need to use.

~ April