LEFT returns the first character or characters in a text string, based on the number of characters you specify.
LEFTB returns the first character or characters in a text string, based on the number of bytes you specify.
Important 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 Japanese, Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), and Korean. For more information, see the following Help topics:
Text is the text string that contains the characters you want to extract.
Num_chars 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 specifies the number of characters you want LEFTB to extract, based on bytes.
Example 1: LEFT
The example may be easier to understand if you copy it to a blank worksheet.
How to copy an example
- Create a blank workbook or worksheet.
- Select the example in the Help topic.
Note Do not select the row or column headers.
Selecting an example from Help
- Press CTRL+C.
- In the worksheet, select cell A1, and press CTRL+V.
- To switch between viewing the results and viewing the formulas that return the results, press CTRL+` (grave accent), or on the Formulas tab, in the Formula Auditing group, click the Show Formulas button.
||First four characters in the first string (Sale)
||First character in the second string (S)
Example 2: LEFTB (with your computer set to a default language that supports DBCS)
In the following example:
- LEFTB returns the first 2 characters, because each character is counted as 2.
- LEFT returns the first 4 characters, because each character is counted as 1. LEFT returns the first 4 characters no matter what the default language setting is on your computer.
=LEFTB(" ",4) equals " "
=LEFT(" ",4) equals " "