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Excel/Extracting from a string



In cell A3, I would like to extract the first word from a string in cell D6.  For example, in cell D6, the string is:


and I would like the word "MAPLE" to appear in cell A3.  I cant use =Left(D6,5), because the string in cell D6 changes, and the next time the first word may not be 5 characters.  Is there a formula I could put in Cell A3 that would find the (variable) first word each time?




You can search for the first space in the string to use as the second argument to the left function:

A3: =LEFT(D6,FIND(" ",D6)-1)

if it could sometimes could be a single word you could do

A3: =LEFT(D6,FIND(" ",D6&" ")-1)

since Find will return an error value if the target value isn't found.  This avoids that for a single word entry and still work for an entry with more than one word.

Tom Ogilvy

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thanks Tom, that works great.  Could I just ask what purpose the -1 serves?  I have noticed it quite a lot in the formulas that you build for me, but dont know what it does!




in your example string, MAPLE B2874 (INT)
the find(" ",D6) would return 6 since the space occurs in the 6th position.

But we only want the letters before that space (to the left of the space), so we subtract 1 from the results of the FIND function to get the 5 for the second argument of the LEFT function.

Tom Ogilvy

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Tom Ogilvy


Selected as an Excel MVP by Microsoft since 1999. Answering Excel questions in Allexperts since its inception in 2001. Able to answer questions on almost all aspects of Excel's internal capabilities. If seeking a VBA solution, please specify that in your question itself so I give you the answer you want. [Excel has weak protection - if you are distributing an application, I don't answer questions on how to protect your project from your users.]


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Master of Science (MS) degree Operations Research (ORSA)

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