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, Iâ€™m going to explain how you can use the EXCEL formula to get the first 3 characters from a cell.

Iâ€™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, letâ€™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, Iâ€™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 thatâ€™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, Iâ€™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 thatâ€™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 thatâ€™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, Iâ€™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 thatâ€™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, Iâ€™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
Â Â Â 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, Iâ€™ve provided an extra practice sheet in the worksheet so that you can practice these explained methods.

## Conclusion

In this article, Iâ€™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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