How to Remove First Three Characters in Excel Fast & Easy

As we all know, an Excel sheet can contain a LOT of data. Suppose in a particular column, there’s a list of players with their numeric initials in the beginning. Or it could be a collection of student data who have their three-digit roll numbers in the beginning.

In these cases, we often might want to remove the first few characters from the data sets and retrieve the exact information that we need. Wondering how? That’s where this article with help you.

We’re about to discuss all the methods and relevant information regarding how to remove first three characters in Excel. So, why wait? Let’s get straight to it.

A Few Easy Ways to Remove First Three Characters in Excel

Removing the first three characters in Excel isn’t all that hard to pull off. Let’s categorize the methods that we’re about to apply here. That should help you in getting a clearer understanding.

Remove First Three Characters in Excel Using Function

The first three characters in Excel can be removed using various functions. In this section, we’re about to talk about three functions in total. So, read closely to get the procedure right.

Right Function in Excel

In the image below, there are names of a few students with their roll numbers in numeric order in the beginning. Our task here is to remove the first three characters and keep the names of the students only.

Right Function in Excel 1

1. The first thing you want to do is, place this formula on the cell which you want the results to come up: =RIGHT(A2,LEN(A2)-3)

Right Function in Excel 2

2.  After placing the formula and pressing enter, the first three characters will disappear and you’ll only be left with the student’s name.

3. To get the results in the remaining cells, all you have to do is, use the fill handle and drag it down. The results should look pretty much like this.

Right Function in Excel 3

How it Works

At this point, you might be wondering, how did it actually work? Yeah, copying the values will offer similar values each time. However, I believe a clearer explanation is required in this case.

  • What the RIGHT function does is, it extracts the required characters from the right side of a particular cell. Just to show you, if you type =Right(“123Apples”,5) you’ll get Apples as a result.
  • As for the LEN function, it basically extracts the length of a particular string. Just goes to say, =LEN(“bananas”) will result in 7 as there are 7 characters in the string “bananas.”
  • Now that we’re done with the basics, let’s talk a bit about the formula. For the first argument you place within the RIGHT function, you have to be specific about the text that you’re willing to use. In cell A2, you’re extracting 3 characters using LEN.
  • So, the formula =RIGHT(A2,LEN(A2) means =RIGHT(A2,8).
  • When we add LEN(A2)-3 it returns 4(8-3=5).
  • So, =RIGHT(A2,LEN(A2)-3) translates to Alex Jefferson.

Mid Function in Excel

While using the MID function in Cell B2, you’ll have to use this function to get the required results:

=MID(A2,4,LEN(A2))

Mid Function in Excel

How it Works

  • What the MID function does is, it extracts a specified number of characters from the middle of a text.
  • Suppose, if you type =MID(“Oranges”,3,2) will return “es”.
  • The first argument states the text you want to extract the characters from. The second argument decides the first character that you want to extract. The third argument states the number of characters you want to extract.
  • So, when we’re placing the formula =MID(A2,4,LEN(A2)), it works the same way.
  • Here, we’re placing 4 after A2 because it starts from the fourth character and omits the three characters in the beginning. The LEN function is returning the number of characters of the student list information.
  • Thus, we get the extracted student name in cell B2.

Replace Function in Excel

Here, the formula that you want to place in B2 is: =REPLACE(A2,1,3,””). After placing enter, you should receive the following results.

Replace Function in Excel

How it Works

  • The first argument within the REPLACE function states the string or cell we want to replace the characters with.
  • The second argument is the starting point of the old text where you want the replacement to begin.
  • The third argument simply states the number of characters you want to replace. In this case, it’s 3.
  • Finally, the fourth argument is there to state what you want to replace the old characters with.
  • So, in this case, the first three characters, “009” is replaced with null or “”.

RemoveFirstChars Function in Excel

If you really don’t want to go through all the hassle of putting in the complex functions and arguments, you can just use this VBA code. It should create a user defined function that’ll make your task a lot easier. Bring up the VBA window using Ctrl + F11 And go to Insert>Module, and place the code:

Function RemoveFirstChars(str As String, num_chars As Long)

RemoveFirstChars = Right(str, Len(str) – num_chars)

End Function

After the code is applied, you can just use the following function:

=RemoveFirstChars(A2,3)

Note: Here the first argument is the text that you want to remove the characters from and the second argument is the number of characters.

The Text to Column Method

Just execute the following steps to get rid of the first three characters super-fast.

1. Select the range of data or the column that has the original text.

2. Then go to the Data tab and select Text to Column in the Data Tools group.

3. A window will appear where you’ll have to check fixed with.

The Text to Column Method 1

4. Once that’s done, click next and place the line right after the three characters.

5. Click next again and select the characters that are after the first three characters.

The Text to Column Method 2

6. Now, click on finish.

7. This will result in the extracted names of the students in the student names column.

The Text to Column Method 3

Wrapping Things Up

Now that we’ve shown you all the ways you can use to remove the first 3 characters from Excel, you can choose the ones that suit your needs the best. You can just apply the functions that I’ve shown or just go for the alternatives.

I hope the article helped you out. Let’s close things up until next time.

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