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Use LEFT formula to extract text preceding ONE OF TWO possible characters

  1. #1
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    Use LEFT formula to extract text preceding ONE OF TWO possible characters

    Hi all, I am trying to use a Left formula to extract the first several characters of a variable string. A few examples of these values will be:

    20B1
    20B2
    20B3
    21B1
    21D2
    21D43
    101B1
    101B2
    101D3

    I want to determine the numbers preceding the first letter (only the letters "B" and "D" are used) but number of preceding characters varies.

    Assuming my data is in A column, I am trying to use something like this formula: =LEFT(A1,FIND("B",A1)-1) to return the numbers before the "B" (e.g. "20", "21", and "101").

    This works perfectly, except for the fact that my cell values contain both the letter "B" AND the letter "D" and I need to find the values for all cells.

    Is there any way of doing something like =LEFT(A1,FIND("B" or "D",A1)-1) or something that could return the numbers preceding the first alphabetical character...?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Forum Expert dredwolf's Avatar
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    Re: Use LEFT formula to extract text preceding ONE OF TWO possible characters

    Do "B" and "D" ever appear within the same cell?
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  3. #3
    Forum Expert dredwolf's Avatar
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    Re: Use LEFT formula to extract text preceding ONE OF TWO possible characters

    If not, try one of these 2:
    =IF(ISERROR(FIND("B",A1)),LEFT(A1,FIND("D",A1)-1),LEFT(A1,FIND("B",A1)-1))
    or, since you have 2010 excel
    =IFERROR(LEFT(A1,FIND("B",A1)-1),LEFT(A1,FIND("D",A1)-1))

    Hope this helps

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    Forum Guru tigeravatar's Avatar
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    Re: Use LEFT formula to extract text preceding ONE OF TWO possible characters

    Alternate,
    Please Login or Register  to view this content.
    Hope that helps,
    ~tigeravatar

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    Forum Guru Tony Valko's Avatar
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    Re: Use LEFT formula to extract text preceding ONE OF TWO possible characters

    What is the maximum number of digits that will precede the letter?

    Do any of the strings start with leading zeros?
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    Re: Use LEFT formula to extract text preceding ONE OF TWO possible characters

    Quote Originally Posted by dredwolf View Post
    If not, try one of these 2:
    =IF(ISERROR(FIND("B",A1)),LEFT(A1,FIND("D",A1)-1),LEFT(A1,FIND("B",A1)-1))
    or, since you have 2010 excel
    =IFERROR(LEFT(A1,FIND("B",A1)-1),LEFT(A1,FIND("D",A1)-1))

    Hope this helps
    Each cell contains either "B" or "D".

    The second formula worked like a charm. Thanks!

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    Forum Expert dredwolf's Avatar
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    Re: Use LEFT formula to extract text preceding ONE OF TWO possible characters

    You are welcome

  8. #8
    Forum Guru Tony Valko's Avatar
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    Re: Use LEFT formula to extract text preceding ONE OF TWO possible characters

    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Valko View Post
    What is the maximum number of digits that will precede the letter?

    Do any of the strings start with leading zeros?
    Just for the academic exercise...

    Let's assume that the max number of digits will be 3 and there are no leading zeros.

    =LOOKUP(1000,--LEFT(A2,{1,2,3}))

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