How to Remove Everything After a Character in Excel 2007


Because Microsoft Excel is designed for manipulating numbers rather than words, its ability to process "strings," or groups of characters, is somewhat limited. If you need to remove everything after a character, this limitation can be quite frustrating. Fortunately, by allocating more than one cell to string processing, Excel's built-in functions can be used to trim unnecessary or unwanted characters off the end of a string.

  • Start Excel 2007. Open the worksheet you want to use by clicking "Open" in the menu linked to the round "Office" button.

  • Identify the cell you want to trim. The cell's name is a combination of the letters printed across the top row of the worksheet and the numbers printed at the leftmost column. By default, the first cell in your spreadsheet will be "A1." The currently selected cell is always listed just above the first row containing the cell labels.

  • Choose a blank cell close to the cell you want to remove characters from and click on it to make it the currently active cell.

  • Type "=LEFT(" followed by the name of the cell you want to trim, a comma, and "SEARCH(." For example, if you want to trim the contents of cell "A1," you would write "=LEFT(A1,SEARCH(." The Excel 2007 formula bar, which is located immediately to the right of the cell label, shows you the formula you're currently writing.

  • Write the final character you want preserved, making sure to put it between quotes, and then type a comma, the name of the cell again and two closing parentheses. For example, if cell "A1" contains the phrase "abcefg" and you want to remove everything after the letter "c," the formula bar should read "=LEFT(A1,SEARCH("c",A1))."

  • Hit the "Enter" key.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you know you will always want to remove everything after a certain number of characters, regardless of what that character is, you can just use the "=LEFT()" function without the "SEARCH" function. For example, to remove everything after the fifth character in cell A1, you would write "=LEFT(A1,5)."

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