Make LEFT Function recognize a number in Excel

Are you wondering if there is a way to force a LEFT function to recognize a number?

Let see how we use Left function in Excel?

The LEFT function treats numbers (digits) as Text, evenwhen contained in a true Number entry. Therefore, when using digits as operators within these functions, the output must be treated as Text.

We will use the LEFT & VALUE functions to make a formula that will convert text into numbers.

LEFT: Returns the specified number of characters from the start of a text string.
left function
Text:It is the text string from which you need to extract the characters.

num_chars:It specifies the number of characters from the left which you want to extract.


VALUE: Converts a text string that represents a number to a number
value function
Text:It is the text value which needs to be converted into numbers


Let us take an example to see that how we can use Left formula in Excel:

  • We have some telephone numbers in column A
  • We need to find the first 3 numbers of these phone numbers.


  • In cell B2,enter the formula =VALUE(LEFT(A2,3))


  • The LEFT function will extract the first 3 digits but will be displayed as text (left aligned) &the VALUE function will convert the output into numbers (right aligned).
  • We can copy the formula down to the range B3:B11 to achieve the desired result for the whole data set.



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    • Here's your solution.
      At the end of the article, you can download the working file too.

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