LEN, LENB functions

This article describes the formula syntax and usage of the LEN and LENB function (function: A prewritten formula that takes a value or values, performs an operation, and returns a value or values. Use functions to simplify and shorten formulas on a worksheet, especially those that perform lengthy or complex calculations.) in Microsoft Excel.


LEN returns the number of characters in a text string.

LENB returns the number of bytes used to represent the characters in a text string.

 Important   LENB counts 2 bytes per character only when a DBCS language is set as the default language. Otherwise LENB behaves the same as LEN, counting 1 byte per character.

The languages that support DBCS include Japanese, Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), and Korean.



The xxx function syntax has the following arguments (argument: A value that provides information to an action, an event, a method, a property, a function, or a procedure.):

  • Text    Required. The text whose length you want to find. Spaces count as characters.


Example 1: LEN

The example may be easier to understand if you copy it to a blank worksheet.

ShowHow do I copy an example?

  1. Select the example in this article. If you are copying the example in Excel Online, copy and paste one cell at a time.
    Important: Do not select the row or column headers.

Selecting an example from Help

Selecting an example from Help

  1. Press CTRL+C.
  2. Create a blank workbook or worksheet.
  3. In the worksheet, select cell A1, and press CTRL+V. If you are working in Excel Online, repeat copying and pasting for each cell in the example.
    Important: For the example to work properly, you must paste it into cell A1 of the worksheet.
  4. 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.

After you copy the example to a blank worksheet, you can adapt it to suit your needs.

Phoenix, AZ
Formula Description (Result)
=LEN(A2) Length of the first string (11)
=LEN(A3) Length of the second string (0)
=LEN(A4) Length of the third string, which includes 5 spaces (8)

Example 2: LENB (with your computer set to a default language that supports DBCS)

In the following example:

  • LENB returns 6, because each character is counted as 2.
  • LEN returns 3, because each character is counted as 1. LEN returns 3 no matter what the default language setting is.

=LENB("Tokyo to Shibuya Tokyo to Shibuya Tokyo to Shibuya ") equals 6

=LEN("Tokyo to Shibuya Tokyo to Shibuya Tokyo to Shibuya ") equals 3

Applies to:
Excel 2010, Excel Web App, SharePoint Online for enterprises, SharePoint Online for professionals and small businesses