# How to Use LEFT Function

The LEFT function is to return the characters you specified in a text string.

Formula:

=LEFT(text, [num_chars])

Explanations:

Text is required, the text string that contains the characters you need to extract;

[Num_chars] is optional, the number of characters you need to extract.

Cautions:

– The Num_chars must be over or equal to zero. A negative number will cause #VALUE! error;

– When the num_chars is omitted, it is assumed to be 1;

– When the num_chars is larger than the length of the string, it returns all the string.

Example 1: When [num_chars] is negative, the result returns to error (#VALUE!).

=LEFT(A2,-6)
The result returns to error #VALUE!

Example 2: When [num_chars] is 0, the result returns to blank.

=LEFT(A3,0)
The result returns to blank.

Example 3: When [num_chars] is positive but less than or equal to the length of the text string, the result returns to the characters you specified.

=LEFT(A5, 5)
The result returns to the first 5 letters.

Example 4: When [num_chars] is positive but longer than the length of the text string, the result returns to all the string in the cell.

=LEFT(A6,24)
The result returns to all the string "How to Use LEFT Function", which has 24 characters.