Sometimes when data is copied from another source then there is a possibility of having a couple of information compacted together. For this type of problem extracting character is needed. In this article, I’m going to explain how you can use the EXCEL formula to get the first 3 characters from a cell.

I’m going to use a sample dataset to make the explanation easier. Here, I used a dataset of order information for a particular product. There are 3 columns and these are ** Order ID, Brand, **and

**. In**

*Price*

*Order ID**,*the information of

**order number**and

**product name**is concatenated. So, we extracted the

**from cell**

*Order Number***B4**using the

**LEFT**function. And the extracted part is presented here in cell

**E4**.

**Table of Contents**hide

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## 3 Easy Methods to Get First 3 Characters from a Cell Using Excel Formula

Here we can get the first 3 characters from a cell, using various types of methods. For avoiding any compatibility issues, try to use the **Excel 365** edition.

### 1. Using LEFT Function to Get First 3 Characters from a Cell

You can use **the LEFT function** to get the first 3 characters from a cell.

**STEPS:**

- First, let’s see the procedure to use this function.
- First, select the cell where you want to place your resultant value. Here, I selected cell
**E4**. - Then, type the following formula in the selected cell or into the
**Formula Bar**.

`=LEFT(B4,3)`

- Here, in the
**LEFT**function, I’ve selected the**B4**cell as**text**and the**num_chars 3.**As I was given num_chars 3 so the first 3 characters from the left will be extracted. - Finally, press the
**ENTER**key. - Therefore, you will see the extracted 3 characters in the
column.*Order Number*

- Finally, you can use the
**Fill Handle**to**AutoFill**the formula in the rest of the cells.

**LEFT**with the

**VALUE**function to get the outputs in numeric format instead of text. Hence, follow the below steps.

There is a disadvantage in the **LEFT **function it treats all types of value as a string that’s why it converts the numeric value into a text value.

To overcome this problem, you can use the **LEFT** function with **the VALUE function** to get the numeric values as numbers.

**STEPS:**

- First, select the cell where you want to place your resultant value.
- Here, I selected cell
**E4**. - Then, type the following formula in the selected cell or into the
**Formula Bar**.

`=VALUE(LEFT(B4,3))`

- Here, in the
**LEFT**function, I’ve selected the**B4**cell as**text**and the**num_chars 3**. Now, it will extract the first 3 characters from the left. Then, the**VALUE**function will convert the text string to a numeric value. - In the end, press the
**ENTER**key. - Hence, you will see the extracted 3 characters in the
column are represented in number format.*Order Number*

- You can use the
**Fill Handle**to**AutoFill**the formula in the rest of the cells.

### 2. Apply LEFT with SEARCH Function to Extract First 3 Characters

You also can use the **LEFT** function with **the SEARCH function** to get the first 3 characters from a cell if you want to extract characters from any text or special character.

**STEPS:**

- First, select the cell where you want to place your resultant value.
- Here, I selected cell
**E4.** - Then, type the following formula in the selected cell or into the
**Formula Bar**.

`=LEFT(B4,SEARCH("_",B4)-1)`

- Here, in the
**SEARCH**function, given (**_**) in**find_text**, then**within_text**selected the**B4**cell. Now**,**the**SEARCH**function will give the position number of the given text, then**1**will be subtracted from the position then it will work as**num_chars**for**LEFT**. At last, the**LEFT**function will extract the characters from the left**.** - Press the
**ENTER**key.

Now, you will see the extracted 3 characters in thecolumn.*Order Number* - Because the position of the given character (_) was 4 from there -1 was subtracted so the num_chars became 3 that’s why 3 characters are extracted from the left of the
**find_text.**

*.*

**NOTE:**If you want, you can use the**VALUE**function here to convert the text string to numeric value by following the method explained in Using LEFT with VALUE section- You can use the
**Fill Handle**to**AutoFill**the formula in the rest of the cells.

**LEFT**with the

**FIND**function for case-sensitive issues.

Here, you can use the **LEFT** function with **the FIND function** to get the first 3 characters from the left if you want to extract value from particular text and a special character.

**STEPS:**

- First, select the cell where you want to place your resultant value.
- Here, I selected cell
**E4**. - Then, type the following formula in the selected cell or into the
**Formula Bar**.

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

- Here, in the
**FIND**function, given (**_**) in**find_text**, then**within_text**selected the**B4**cell. Now**,**the**FIND**function will give the position number of the given text then**1**will be subtracted from the position then it will work as**num_chars**for**LEFT.**At last, the**LEFT**function will extract the characters from the left**.** - Press the
**ENTER**key. - Now, you will see the extracted 3 characters in the
column.*Order Number* - Because the position of the given character (_) was 4 from there -1 was subtracted so the num_chars became 3 that’s why 3 characters are extracted from the left of the
**find_text.**

*.*

**NOTE:**If you want, you can use the**VALUE**function here to convert the text string to numeric value by following the method explained in Using LEFT with VALUE section- You can use the
**Fill Handle**to**AutoFill**the formula in the rest of the cells.

**Read More:** **How to Extract Data from Cell in Excel (5 Methods)**

**3. Apply MID Function for First 3 Characters From a Cell**

By using **the MID function** you can get the first 3 characters from a cell. Therefore, follow the below process to get the first 3 characters from a cell using the formula in Excel.

**STEPS:**

- Firstly, select the cell where you want to place your resultant value.
- Here, I selected cell
**E4.** - Secondly, type the following formula in the selected cell or into the
**Formula Bar**.

`=MID(B4,1,3)`

- Here, in the
**MID**function, I’ve selected the**B4**cell as**text**,**start_num 1,**and**num_chars 3**. So, the**MID**function will extract the characters starting from 1st character to the 3rd character. - In the end, press the
**ENTER**key. - Now, you will see the extracted 3 characters in the
column.*Order Number*

- You can use the
**Fill Handle**to**AutoFill**the formula in the rest of the cells.

The **MID **function has the drawback of treating all types of value as a string that’s why it converts the numeric value into a text value.

To rectify this problem, you can use the **MID** function with the **VALUE** function to get the numeric values as numbers.

**STEPS:**

- First, select the cell where you want to place your resultant value.
- Here, I selected cell
**E4.** - Then, type the following formula in the selected cell or into the
**Formula Bar**.

`=VALUE(MID(B4,1,3))`

- After that, in the
**MID**function, I’ve selected the**B4**cell as**text**,**start_num 1,**and**num_chars 3**. So, the**MID**function will extract the characters starting from 1st character to the 3rd character. Finally, the**VALUE**function will convert the text string to numeric values. - Finally, press the
**ENTER**key. Therefore, you will see the extracted 3 characters as a numeric value in thecolumn.*Order Number*

- You can use the
**Fill Handle**to**AutoFill**the formula in the rest of the cells.

**Read More: How to Extract Data from a List Using Excel Formula (5 Methods)**

## Some More Ways to Get First 3 Characters from a Cell

Apart from using the formula, you can also get the first 3 characters from a cell using some other features and VBA in Excel. Therefore, go through the methods.

**1. Get First 3 Characters from a Cell Through Excel VBA**

You can use **the VBA **to get the first 3 characters from a cell.

**STEPS:**

- Open the
**Developer**tab >> then select**Visual Basic.**

- It will open a new window of
**Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications.** - Hence go to
**Insert**>> select**Module**.

- Then write the code in the
**Module**.

```
Sub Get_First_3Character()
Dim R As Integer
For R = 4 To 12
ActiveSheet.Cells(R, 5).Value = Left(Cells(R, 2), 3)
Next R
End Sub
```

- Here
**R**represents the row numbers. - In the
**LEFT**function given the num_chars = 3. - Used a
**For loop**to continue the process for the given row range. I have used**Cells (R, 5)**and**Cells (R, 2)**that denotes the 5th and 2nd column for a particular row respectively. - Then,
**Save**the code and go back to the worksheet. - Now, select the cell that you want to split into rows.
- I selected cell
**C6.** - Open the
**View**tab >> from**Macros**>> select**View Macro.**

- After that, a
**dialog box**will pop up. From there select the**Macro**to**Run**.

- From the dialog
**box**select the**Macro**name**Get_First_3Character**. - Finally, you will see that the character from the used row range in
**VBA**is extracted in the given column.

**Read More:** **Excel VBA: Pull Data Automatically from a Website (2 Methods)**

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**2. Utilize Flash Fill to Return First 3 Characters from a Cell**

You can use the **Flash Fill **feature to extract characters.

**STEPS:**

- To use
**Flash Fill**first you will need to create a pattern to follow. - Here, I give the pattern of the first 3 characters from the
**B4**cell.

- Now, open the
**Data**tab >> from**Data Tools**>> select**Flash Fill.**

- Finally, all the remaining cells of the
will be filled with 3 characters from the*Order Number*column.*Order ID*

**Read More:** **How to Extract Data from Excel Based on Criteria (5 Ways)**

**3. Extract First 3 Characters from a Cell with Text to Columns ****Feature**

**3.1 With Delimited**

You can also use the **Text to Columns **from the **Ribbon **to extract characters from a cell.

**STEPS:**

- To use this option, first, select the cell or range of cells that you want to split.
- Here, I selected the cell range
**B4:B12**. - Now, open the
**Data**tab >> from**Data Tools**>> select**Text to Columns.** - A
**dialog box**will pop up. From there select the file type**Delimited**and click**Next**.

- In the
**dialog box**select the**Delimiters**your value has. - After that, I selected
**other**and given the delimiter my value has**(_)**. - Again, click
**Next.**

- Here you can choose the
**Destination**otherwise keep it as it is. - Then, I selected the destination
**E4:F12.** - Finally, click
**Finish**.

- Afterward, a warning message will pop up then click
**OK**.

- Thus, you will see the first 3 characters in the
column.*Order Number*

**3.2 With Fixed Width**

Again, you can use the **Text to Columns **from the **Ribbon **to extract characters from a cell with the **Fixed Width **option.

**STEPS:**

- To use this option, first, select the cell or range of cells that you want to split.
- Here, I selected the
**B4:B12**cell range. - Now, open the
**Data**tab >> from**Data Tools**>> select**Text to Columns.**

- A
**dialog box**will pop up. From there select the file type**Fixed Width**and click**Next**.

- In the
**dialog box**create a break in the line. To do that, click on the desired position. - Then, I created the break line after the first 3 characters.
- Again, click
**Next.**

- Hence you can choose the
**Destination**otherwise keep it as it is. - Moreover, I selected the destination
**E4:F12.**

- Finally, click
**Finish**.

- Therefore, a warning message will pop up then click
**OK**.

- Finally, you will see the first 3 characters in the
column.*Order Number*

**Read More:** **Convert Excel to Text File with Delimiter (2 Easy Approaches)**

**Read More:** **How to Extract Data From Table Based on Multiple Criteria in Excel**

## Practice Section

FInally, I’ve provided an extra practice sheet in the worksheet so that you can practice these explained methods.

## Conclusion

In this article, I’ve explained 6 ways of the Excel formula to get the first 3 characters from a cell. These methods will be useful for you whenever you want to get the first 3 characters from a cell. In case you have any confusion or question regarding these methods you may comment down below.

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