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- How to Remove First 4 Characters in Excel
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## How to Remove First 4 Characters in Excel

You may have a workbook that contains text, but you only want to extract certain characters from it. For example, you might want to extract only the first name from a cell that contains a person’s first and last name. In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to manipulate text, and in particular I’ll show you great techniques to remove the first 4 characters in Excel using the following functions:

1) Correct Excel function

2) Excel’s MID function

3) Excel’s REPLACE function

Using the right function in Excel

In this example I want to remove the first 4 characters from the postcode CV36 7BL and leave the last 3 characters. Let’s say the zip code is in cell A2 in an Excel spreadsheet. The formula in cell B2 is:

**=RIGHT(A2,PEAK(A2)-4)**

So how does this formula work? Let’s break it down so you can understand how it works.

**CORRECT function**

The RIGHT function separates a certain number of characters from the right edge of the specified text. For example, =RIGHT(“bananas”,4) returns “anas”

**LEN function**

The LEN function extracts the length of a given string. For example, =LEN(“apples”) returns 6 because the string “apples” has 6 characters.

**RIGHT (A2, LONG (A2)**

This part of the formula returns 8. For the first argument of the RIGHT function, you must specify what text to use. In this example, this is cell A2, i.e. the postal code. For the second argument, you need to specify the number of characters you want to extract. For this argument, I use the LEN function, which returns the number of characters in the zip code CV36 7BL, which is 8. The space between CV36 and 7BL counts as a character. The formula =RIGHT(A2,PIKE(A2) translates to =PREEM(A2,8), which returns CV36 7BL.

**RIGHT (A2, LONG (A2)-4)**

I want to remove the first 4 characters, so I add -4 to the end of the formula. LEN(A2)-4 therefore returns 4 (8-4=4).

If I simplify it further, the function is RIGHT = RIGHT(A2,4) and returns CV36.

How to remove the first ns character from a string?

If you want to remove the first nth characters from the string, just change the -4 at the end of the formula to whatever number of characters you want to remove. For example, if you want to remove the first 3 characters of a string, simply change -4 to -3. so the formula becomes = RIGHT(A2, LEN(A2)-3). If you want to remove the first 2 characters, change it to -2 so it becomes =RIGHT(A2, LEN(A2)-2) and so on.

Using Excel’s MID function

Another way to remove the first 4 characters from the postcode CV36 7BL is to use Excel’s MID function. Let’s say again that the zip code is in cell A2 and the formula is in cell B2.

The formula is now **=ENVIRONMENT(A2,5,LENGTH(A2))**

So how does this formula work? I will explain each section of the MID formula.

**MID function**

Excel’s MID function extracts the middle of text based on a specified number of characters. For example =MID(“bananas”,3,2) returns “na”. The first argument is the text string or cell reference you want to extract from. The second argument is the first character you want to extract. The third argument is the number of characters you want to extract.

**=MID(A2,5**

This section of the formula says to start at the fifth character of the postcode CV36 7BL. This means it starts with a space, since a space is the fifth character from the left.

**LONG (A2)**

The LEN function returns the number of characters in the zip code CV36 7BL, which is 8.

**=AVERAGE(A2,5,PEAK(A2))**

Simplifying this formula, the MID function is =MID(A2,5,8). It starts with a space and separates 8 characters. Since there are only 3 characters after the space, it is separated by 7BL.

How to remove the first ns character from a string?

If you want to remove the first nth character, just add 1 to the second argument of the MID function. For example, if I want to remove the first 3 characters, I put 4 in the second argument of the MID function, so it becomes **=ENVIRONMENT(A2,4,PIECE(A2))**. If I want to remove the first 2 characters, just put 3 for the second argument to change it **=ENVIRONMENT(A2,3,PEAK(A2))**.

Using Excel’s REPLACE function

Continuing on the topic of removing the first 4 characters of the postcode CV36 7BL, I’ll show you how to do it using Excel’s REPLACE function. Again, I’m assuming the zip code is in cell A2 and the formula is in cell B2.

The formula in cell B2 is now **=REPLACE(A2;1;4″”)**

Now I will show you how this formula works.

**The REPLACE function**

The REPLACE function replaces a character set of a string with another character set. The first argument to the replace function is the string or cell you want to replace the characters with, i.e. the zip code in cell A2. The second argument is the position of the old text to start character replacement. The third argument is the number of characters you want to replace the old text with. The fourth argument is the new characters you want to replace the old text with.

**REPLACE(A2;1;4″”)**

The first argument is the zip code in cell A2. The second argument is the starting number. I want to start from the beginning, so I enter 1. The third argument is 4 because I want to replace the first 4 characters with new text. The last argument is two quotes, which mean empty strings. I want to replace the first 4 characters with empty strings so I’m left with the last 3 characters.

How to remove the first ns character from a string?

To remove the first nth character, replace the third argument with the number of characters to remove. For example, if you want to remove the first 3 characters, just change the third argument to 3, so it changes **=REPLACE(A2;1;3″”)**.

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