Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Office 365. If you are using an earlier version (Excel 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Excel, click here: Deleting Everything Up to a Character Sequence.

Deleting Everything Up to a Character Sequence

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated December 1, 2018)

2

Steven has a worksheet that has lots of text in it. In the cells in column A he wants to delete everything that may occur before a given sequence of characters, such as everything before =XX=. There may be multiple instances of these characters in each cell, but Steven only wants to delete everything before the first occurrence.

One way to do this is to use a formula. For instance, the following formula will evaluate whatever is in cell A1 and simply return everything up to the =XX= characters. If the characters are not found in the cell, then the entire cell is returned:

=RIGHT(A1,IF(ISERROR(FIND("=XX=",A1,1)),
LEN(A1),LEN(A1)-FIND("=XX=",A1,1)+1))

If you want, instead, to not return the first occurrence of =XX=, all you need to do is change the +1 near the end of the formula to -3.

If you prefer a macro-based solution you could use a routine like the following. It examines all the cells that are currently selected and then deletes everything before the =XX= sequence.

Sub DeleteToSequence()
    Dim rCell As Range
    Dim sSeq As String
    Dim x As Long

    sSeq = "=XX="
    For Each rCell In Selection
        x = InStr(rCell.Value, sSeq)
        If x > 0 Then
            rCell.Value = Mid(rCell, x)
        End If
    Next

    Set rCell = Nothing
End Sub

You should be aware that this macro can cause some errors, particularly when what you are searching for begins with an equal sign (as in =XX=). When a string beginning with an equal sign is stuffed back into the cell, you'll get a #NAME? error because Excel tries to parse the cell as if it contains a formula.

If you want to delete everything up through the character sequence, use this line in the middle of the routine:

rCell.Value = Mid(rCell, x + Len(sSeq))

Note:

If you would like to know how to use the macros described on this page (or on any other page on the ExcelTips sites), I've prepared a special page that includes helpful information. Click here to open that special page in a new browser tab.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (8446) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Office 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Deleting Everything Up to a Character Sequence.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is five minus 4?

2018-12-04 18:37:14

Peter Atherton

Gary

Use one or the other line, not both. The following shows possible results





The active cell shows an error because it mixes Text & numbers in A8. The lines used are show in row 6.

(see Figure 1 below)

Figure 1. 


2018-12-03 09:39:25

Gary

Thank you for this tip. There is one part that I don't quite understand. In the very last part of the tip you mention adding "rCell.Value = Mid(rCell, x + Len(sSeq))" in the middle of the routine. Do you mean that it replaces something that is already there, or just add this as an extra line? And where exactly do I add it- can you be a bit more specific?

Thank you!

Gary


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