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# 12/23/2017 Excel formula: Get first word | Exceljet

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## Get rst word

Generic formula

= LEFT(a1,FIND(" ",a1) - 1)

Explanation
If you need to extract the rst word from some text you can use a formula that uses the FIND and LEFT functions. From the
example, the formula looks like this:

= LEFT(B4,FIND(" ",B4) - 1)

## How this formula works

FIND returns the position (as a number) of the rst occurrence of a space character in the text. This position, minus one, is fed into
the LEFT function as num_chars.

The LEFT function then extracts characters starting at the the left side of the text, up to (position - 1).

## Handling one word

If a cell contains only one word, this formula returns an error. One way to x this problem is to wrap the original formula in the
IFERROR function like so:

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## Translated: if an error occurs, return the original text.

Another simple way to handle the error is to append a space to the cell value before running FIND:

## = LEFT(B4,FIND(" ",B4 & " ") - 1)

This ensures that FIND will always nd at least one space, and will therefore not throw an error. When a cell contains more than
one word, there is no impact because the formula works only with the rst space.

Author
Dave Bruns

Related formulas
Extract nth word from text string
If you need to get the nth word in a text string (i.e. a sentence, phrase, or paragraph) you can so
with a clever (and intimidating) formula that combines 5 Excel functions: TRIM, MID, SUBSTITUTE,
REPT, and LEN. How this formula works At the core,...

## Extract word that begins with speci c character

To extract words that begin with a speci c character, you can use a formula based on six functions:
TRIM, LEFT, SUBSTITUTE, MID, LEN, and REPT. This approach is useful if you need to extract
things like a Twitter user name from a cell that contains...

## Split text string at speci c character

To split a text string at a certain character, you can use a combination of the LEFT, RIGHT, LEN, and
FIND functions. In the example shown, the formula in C5 is: = LEFT ( B5 , FIND ( "_" , B5 ) - 1 ) And
the formula in D5 is: = RIGHT ( B5...

## Abbreviate names or words

To abbreviate text that contains capital letters, you can try this array formula based on the
TEXTJOIN function, which is new in Excel 2016. You can use this approach to create initials from
names, or to create acronyms. Only capital letters will...

## Split text with delimiter

To split text at an arbitrary delimiter (comma, space, pipe, etc.) you can use a formula based on the
TRIM, MID, SUBSTITUTE, REPT, and LEN functions. In the example shown, the formula in C5 is: =
TRIM ( MID ( SUBSTITUTE ( \$B5 , "|" , REPT...

Related functions
Excel LEFT Function
The Excel LEFT function extracts a given number of characters from the left side of a supplied text
string. For example, LEFT("apple",3) returns "app".

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## Excel FIND Function

The Excel FIND function returns the position (as a number) of one text string inside another. When
the text is not found, FIND returns a #VALUE error.

## Excel ISERROR Function

The Excel ISERROR function returns TRUE for any error type that excel generates, including #N/A,
#VALUE!, #REF!, #DIV/0!, #NUM!, #NAME?, or #NULL! You can use the ISERR function together
with the IF function to test for an errors and display a...

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## 500 Formula Examples, thoughtfully explained.

Split text string at Extract nth word from Cell contains specific Get last word
specific character text string text

Extract text between Extract word containing Extract word that begins Extract multiple lines
parentheses specific text with specific character from a cell

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17 Comments exceljet 

 Recommend 3 ⤤ Share

Name

## Abhi • a year ago

I just Made sheet for purchase and sell entry and i have to gave shit for price list
can i made sheet like if i just entry product name and excel get automatically sell price and purchase price from another sheet???
plz help me
△ ▽ • Reply • Share ›

## Dave Bruns Mod > Abhi • a year ago

You can do this sort of thing with the VLOOKUP function. The link above has many examples, but there is more general information here, and
a basic video here.
△ ▽ • Reply • Share ›

## Roger Anderson • 2 years ago

HI Dave,
Any way to customize this if some cells have only one word..?

## Some cells have

FirstName LastName
FirstName
FirstName LastName
FirstName LastName
FirstName

Your formula works well for FirstName LastName but it doesn't for FirstName. Can you possibly suggest a solution.

Many thanks,
△ ▽ • Reply • Share ›

## Dave Bruns Mod > Roger Anderson • 2 years ago

I believe the answer is above, under the "Handling one word" section...

Assuming you want to return just the first name in cases where there is no last name?
△ ▽ • Reply • Share ›

## Roger Anderson > Dave Bruns • 2 years ago

Hey Dave,
I swear on my pet gerbils that it wasn't here when I first read it... You sneakily added it after my comment right :-)

Thanks again my friend. May the internet Gods bless you !!!!!!!!!!!!
△ ▽ • Reply • Share ›

## Dave Bruns Mod > Roger Anderson • 2 years ago

I am guilting sometimes of adding content, then a reply that cites the new content, but not this time :)

## Glad it worked for you!

△ ▽ • Reply • Share ›

## Roger Anderson > Dave Bruns • 2 years ago

Hahah of course I knew,

I didn't literally mean you added it now. that just that I didn't read it in detail last time ;-)

## PS: I don't have any pet gerbils ;-)

△ ▽ • Reply • Share ›

## Adolf Skroatler > Roger Anderson • 2 years ago

I want to post funny gerbil stuffen here but did not want to offend. You made my day. Excuse English Please.
△ ▽ • Reply • Share ›

## Deepak Gowda • 2 years ago

Perfect... This is what I was looking for.. Thanks Dave..
△ ▽ • Reply • Share ›

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Dave Bruns Mod > Deepak Gowda • 2 years ago
Excellent - thanks.
△ ▽ • Reply • Share ›

## Kevin • 2 years ago

There's a simpler way than using the ISERROR function to account for one-word strings (or empty cells as well)--append a space:

## =LEFT(B4,FIND(" ",B4&" ")-1)

△ ▽ • Reply • Share ›

## Dave Bruns Mod > Kevin • 2 years ago

Good point, and nice idea. I've added your version above. Thanks!
△ ▽ • Reply • Share ›

## Badr • 2 years ago

this what i was looking for. it will support me alot to reduce wasting time for cutting description, all what i want only the first word of each description.
thanks again.
△ ▽ • Reply • Share ›

## Dave Bruns Mod > Badr • 2 years ago

Excellent - thanks for your feedback!
△ ▽ • Reply • Share ›

## Thávia Farias • 2 years ago

great
△ ▽ • Reply • Share ›

## klamzo • 2 years ago

This is good stuff and well explained.
△ ▽ • Reply • Share ›

## Dave Bruns Mod > klamzo • 2 years ago

Thanks for the feedback!
△ ▽ • Reply • Share ›

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Hi - I'm Dave Bruns, and I run Exceljet with my wife, Lisa. Our goal is to help you work faster
in Excel. We create short videos, and clear examples of formulas, functions, pivot tables,
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