How To Remove The First Character In Excel

How To Articles

Hey there! So you want to learn how to remove the first character in Excel? No problem, I’ve got you covered. It’s a handy skill to have, especially when dealing with large datasets or when the data contains unnecessary leading characters. Let’s dive into the steps to do this.

Using the RIGHT Function

One approach to remove the first character from a cell in Excel is to use the RIGHT function. This function allows you to extract a specific number of characters from the right side of a text string.

  1. First, select the cell in which you want to remove the first character.
  2. Next, enter the formula =RIGHT(cell_reference, LEN(cell_reference)-1), replacing cell_reference with the actual reference to the cell containing the text. This formula will extract all characters from the right, except for the first character.
  3. Press Enter, and you’ll see the cell now displays the text with the first character removed.

Using a Combination of Functions

Another way to accomplish this is by combining functions like MID and LEN.

  1. Select the cell from which you want to remove the first character.
  2. Enter the formula =MID(cell_reference,2,LEN(cell_reference)-1), where cell_reference is again the reference to the cell containing the text. This formula extracts a substring starting from the second character, effectively removing the first character.
  3. After entering the formula, press Enter and you’ll see the result in the cell.

My Personal Tip: Using Text to Columns

While the above methods work great for a single cell, if you have a range of cells that need the first character removed, consider using the Text to Columns feature. This powerful tool allows you to split the contents of a cell based on a delimiter. You can use this to split the text into separate columns, and then simply delete the column containing the unwanted first character.


And there you have it! Removing the first character in Excel is a useful skill that can come in handy when dealing with various datasets. Whether you prefer using functions like RIGHT and MID, or utilizing features like Text to Columns, Excel provides multiple ways to achieve this task. So go ahead, give it a try, and make your data cleaning process a breeze!