**Please Note: **
This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. 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: Extracting First and Last Words.

Reggie has a cell that contains three or more words. (The number of words could vary.) He needs a formula that allows him to extract either the first word of the cell or the last word of the cell. For instance, if the cell contains the phrase "Reggie was here in 2016", then he needs a formula to extract "Reggie" and one to extract "2016".

You can extract both words using formulas. Extracting the first word is relatively straightforward. All you need to do is find the location of the first space in the phrase, then extract whatever is to the left of it. If one presumes that the phrase is in A1, one can use the formula:

=LEFT(A1,FIND(" ",A1)-1)

To extract the last word, you'll need a slightly different formula:

=TRIM(RIGHT(SUBSTITUTE(TRIM(A1)," ",REPT(" ",255)),255))

This formula changes the spaces into strings of 255 blanks. Then it finds the last 255 characters and trims the characters to the left, leaving the last word.

You can also, if you prefer, create user-defined functions to grab the words you want. Grabbing the first word is easy:

Function FirstWord(c As String) Dim arr arr = Split(Trim(c), " ") FirstWord = arr(LBound(arr)) End Function

The function uses the Split function to pull apart whatever is in the specified cell, using the second parameter (" ") as the delimiter. Each element in the array (arr) then contains a portion of the original string. In this case what is being returned is the first element (specified by LBound) of the array—the first word.

Since the words from the phrase are being placed in an array, you can use just a slight variation on the function to return the last word:

Function LastWord(c As String) Dim arr arr = Split(Trim(c), " ") LastWord = arr(UBound(arr)) End Function

Note that, essentially, the only real change in the function is the use of UBound instead of LBound. The UBound function specifies the last element of the array. You can use both of these functions in a worksheet in this manner:

=FirstWord(A1) =LastWord(A1)

If you prefer, you could bypass using the Split function and, instead, use some other string-related functions:

Function GetFirst(c As String) GetFirst = Left(c, InStr(c, " ") - 1) End Function

Function GetLast(c As String) GetFirst = Mid(c, InstrRev(c, " ") + 1) End Function

*ExcelTips* is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training.
This tip (11985) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: **Extracting First and Last Words**.

**Solve Real Business Problems** Master business modeling and analysis techniques with Excel and transform data into bottom-line results. This hands-on, scenario-focused guide shows you how to use the latest Excel tools to integrate data from multiple tables. Check out *Microsoft Excel 2013 Data Analysis and Business Modeling* today!

If you need to generate a random sequence of characters, of a fixed length, then you'll appreciate the discussion in this ...

Discover MoreYou can easily use the COMBIN worksheet function to determine the number of combinations that can be made from a given number ...

Discover MoreAddresses used in a formula can be either relative or absolute. If you need to switch between the two types of addressing, ...

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

2016-06-29 16:13:18

Balkee

Brilliant!

2016-06-27 08:21:50

Luis Pazeto

=RIGHT(REPLACE(A10," ","#",LEN(A10)-LEN(REPLACE(A10," ",""))),LEN(REPLACE(A10," ","#",LEN(A10)-LEN(REPLACE(A10," ",""))))-FIND("#",REPLACE(A10," ","#",LEN(A10)-LEN(REPLACE(A10," ","")))))

But the formula shared by Allan is much more simple!

2016-06-27 08:07:20

Luis Pazeto

The number used can be any higher than the length of last word. But as this length can vary for word to word, 255 was used because a word hardly exceed this limit.

Sorry for my poor english.

2016-06-26 22:44:16

williamwclee

why 255 characters?

is it a max of characters that a cell can hold?

2016-06-26 08:06:38

Willy Vanhaelen

Function GetWord(c As String, Optional x As Integer = 1)

Dim arr

arr = Split(Trim(c))

x = x - 1

If x = -1 Or x > UBound(arr) Then x = UBound(arr)

GetWord = arr(x)

End Function

You use GetWord like this (suposing A1 contains "first second last", without the quotes:

=GetWord(A1) --> first (if you omit the 2nd argument the default is 1)

=GetWord(A1,0) --> last

=GetWord(A1,1) --> first

=GetWord(A1,2) --> second

=GetWord(A1,3) --> last

=GetWord(A1,9) --> last

If the number of the 2nd argument is > than the number of words in the cell the last word is returned.

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.

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

Copyright © 2017 Sharon Parq Associates, Inc.

## Comments