Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 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: Finding the First Non-Digit in a Text Value.

# Finding the First Non-Digit in a Text Value

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated June 10, 2024)
This tip applies to Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365

Tony has a bunch of data in a worksheet that consists of digits and other characters. For instance, he might have a cell that contains "1234567Blue." Tony wants to be able to figure out the character position at which the first non-digit character occurs. In the example of the text "1234567Blue" Tony wants some way to figure out that the first non-digit character is at position 8.

There are two primary ways to get the value you want. The first is to use an array formula to calculate the position. The following array formula (entered by using Ctrl+Shift+Enter) will work in the majority of cases:

```=MATCH(TRUE,ISERROR(VALUE(MID(A1,ROW(INDIRECT("1:"&LEN(A1))),1))),0)
```

The only instances where this array formula won't work is if cell A1 is either empty or contains a strictly numeric value. If your list may contain this type of data (or no data at all), then you should consider using a slightly longer array formula:

```=IF(LEN(A1)=0,0,MIN(IF(1*ISNUMBER(1*MID(A1,ROW(INDIRECT("A1:A"&
LEN(A1))),1))=0,ROW(INDIRECT("A1:A"&LEN(A1))),LEN(A1)+1)))*
(ISNUMBER(A1)=FALSE)
```

Remember that that is a single array formula, entered by using Ctrl+Shift+Enter. It will properly handle instances where A1 contains no non-digit characters (as in a blank cell or a value such as "123").

Another possible array formula that should return the desired position is the following. This one should handle empty cells and strictly numeric values just fine, but it is shorter than the previously presented array formula:

```=IFERROR(MATCH(1,ISERR(MID(A1,ROW(INDIRECT("1:"&LEN(A1))),1)*1)*1,),)
```

Of course, the other way you can handle finding out the position of the first non-digit character is to create a user-defined function. There are many different ways that such a macro can be implemented. One of the easiest ways to implement the macro is to simply step through each character in whatever is passed to the macro. When a character is found that is outside the ASCII code range for digits (48 to 57), then you know you've found the first position. The following macro shows a way to do this type of technique:

```Function FirstNonDigit(str As String)
Dim iChar As Integer
Dim iPos As Integer
Dim J As Integer

Application.Volatile
iPos = 0
For J = 1 To Len(str)
iChar = Asc(Mid(str, J, 1))
If iChar <= 47 Or iChar >= 58 Then
iPos = J
Exit For
End If
Next J
FirstNonDigit = iPos
End Function
```

To use the function, simply use a formula such as this in your worksheet:

```=FirstNonDigit(A1)
```

If the cell you reference is empty or if it only contains digits, then the function returns a 0 value.

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 (10610) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Finding the First Non-Digit in a Text Value.

##### 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. ...

##### MORE FROM ALLEN

Got a document that contains a bunch of addresses? If you want to sort the addresses, then you are in for a surprise ...

Discover More

Finding and Replacing Text in Comments

Discover More

Jumping to a Line Number

Need to jump to a specific line number in your document? It's easy to do using the Go To command, as described in this tip.

Discover More

Save Time and Supercharge Excel! Automate virtually any routine task and save yourself hours, days, maybe even weeks. Then, learn how to make Excel do things you thought were simply impossible! Mastering advanced Excel macros has never been easier. Check out Excel 2010 VBA and Macros today!

##### More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Finding Odd Values Greater Than 50

If you have a special need to find cell values that meet two different criteria, where to start can be daunting. This tip ...

Discover More

Pulling a Phone Number with a Known First and Last Name

When using an Excel worksheet to store data (such as names and phone numbers), you may need a way to easily look up a ...

Discover More

Combining Cell Contents

Excel allows you to easily combine text together. Interestingly, it provides two ways you can perform such combinations. ...

Discover More
##### Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

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}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) 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 two less than 6?

2021-09-21 15:21:10

Chris

Here's one, how do you find the first number from the end of a string?
Example:
5.552A.P
7.1156A
8.345.P

2020-11-21 12:12:49

Willy Vanhaelen

Here is my version of the function and a lot smaller and very efficient too:

Function FirstNonDigit(str As String)
If str Like String(Len(str), "#") Then Exit Function
For FirstNonDigit = 1 To Len(str)
If Not Mid(str, FirstNonDigit, 1) Like "#" Then Exit For
Next
End Function

I use rather unusual techniques as
If str Like String(Len(str), "#") Then Exit Function
which tests if the cell is empty or numeric and if so quits.

##### This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the ribbon interface (Excel 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the menu interface.