To extract the first three words in the text string, you need to find the relative location of the third space, then use Left Function.

**Formula:**

Copy the formula and replace "A1" with the cell name that contains the text you would like to extract.

=IF((LEN(A1)-LEN(SUBSTITUTE(A1," ","")))<3, A1, LEFT(A1,FIND(" ",A1, FIND(" ",A1, FIND(" ",A1)+1)+1)-1))

**Example:**

To extract the first three words from the text string "* How to Extract the First Three Words*".

The result returns the first three words "**How to Extract**".

**Explanations:**

**Step 1:** To find the location of the first space

Formula | =FIND(" ",A1) |
---|---|

Result | 4 |

**Step 2:** To find the location of the second space

Formula | =FIND(" ",A1,FIND(" ",A1)+1) |
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Result | 7 |

**Step 3:** To find the location of the third space

Formula | =FIND(" ",A1,FIND(" ",A1,FIND(" ",A1)+1)+1) |
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Result | 15 |

**Step 4:** Pick up the letters before the third space

Formula | =LEFT(A1,FIND(" ",A1,FIND(" ",A1,FIND(" ",A1)+1)+1)-1) |
---|---|

Result | How to Extract |

However, when text string has less than three words, the formula "=LEFT(A1,FIND(" ",A1,FIND(" ",A1,FIND(" ",A1)+1)+1)-1)" returns #VALUE! error. To avoid this error, you need to combine with IF Function.

=IF((LEN(A1)-LEN(SUBSTITUTE(A1," ","")))<3, A1, LEFT(A1, FIND(" ",A1, FIND(" ",A1, FIND(" ",A1)+1)+1)-1))

=SUBSTITUTE(A1," ","") to replace spaces in the text string;

=LEN(SUBSTITUTE(A1," ","")) to count the length of the text string when spaces are removed;

=LEN(A1)-LEN(SUBSTITUTE(A1," ","")) to count the number of spaces in the text string.

When the number of spaces is less than 3, use IF Function to return the text string itself.