Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, and 2013. 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 File Names from a Path.

Extracting File Names from a Path

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 18, 2014)

Barry has a worksheet in which a column contains many file paths. He would like a way to extract just the filename (the part to the right of the final backslash) from each path. He wonders if there is a quick way to do this without using Text to Columns feature.

There are several different ways, depending on whether you want to use a macro or not.

If your filenames are all the same length, then you can simply use the RIGHT function to pull out the last characters. (This formula assumes the full path and file name is in cell A1.)

=RIGHT(A1,11)

This assumes that the filename is always 11 characters long, such as "text001.txt". If the filename is a different length in each instance, then this approach won't work. Instead, you can try this formula:

=MID(A1,FIND(CHAR(1),SUBSTITUTE(A1,"\",CHAR(1),
LEN(A1)-LEN(SUBSTITUTE(A1,"\",""))))+1,LEN(A1))

Note that the formula uses the SUBSTITUTE function twice. In each case it replaces the backslashes (\) with something else. The first time it replaces all of them with an ASCII value of 1 and the second it replaces them with nothing (an empty string) so that it can determine how many backslashes were in the original path. The MID function is used to locate (with the help of FIND and the SUBSTITUTE functions) the location of the last backslash in the path and return everything after that point.

A shorter formula can be used if you are sure that the filename will never be more than 99 characters long:

=TRIM(RIGHT(SUBSTITUTE(A2,"\",REPT(" ",100)),99))

This formula replaces all the backslashes with 100 spaces, grabs the right-most 99 characters from the resulting string (that would be the filename with a bunch of spaces in front of it) and then trims off all the spaces.

If you want to use a macro you can create a very short function that will pull apart a string (the full path, in this case) based upon delimiters:

Function GetFileName2(File_Path) As String
    Dim Parts

    Parts = Split(File_Path, Application.PathSeparator)
    GetFileName2 = Parts(UBound(Parts))
End Function

Told you it was short! The function that does the heavy work is the Split function which pulls a string apart based upon a delimiter you specify and stuffs the parts into an array. In this example the Split function uses as a delimiter whatever path separator is appropriate for the system on which Excel is running.

The last element of the resulting array (determined with the UBound function) contains the portion of the original path that is to the right of the last path separator—the file name. To use the function, put a formula like this in a cell:

=GetFileName2(A1)

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (12903) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Extracting File Names from a Path.

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

Recognizing a Header Row when Sorting

When you sort data in a worksheet, there are a couple ways you can do it. Using the simple way can result in unsatisfactory ...

Discover More

Understanding the PDF/A Format

Word allows you to save your documents in PDF format so others can easily view them. You may not know, however, that Word ...

Discover More

Resetting Hyperlink to Original Color

When you click a hyperlink in a Word document, the color of the hyperlink changes. If you want to change the color back to ...

Discover More

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!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Rounding Up to the Next Half

When processing data it is not unusual to need to round that data in some way. For instance, you may need to round a value ...

Discover More

Totaling Across Worksheets

Want to sum the values in the same cell on a range of worksheets? It's not as easy as summing a range on the same worksheet, ...

Discover More

Calculating the Interval between Occurrences

With a long list of items in a worksheet, you may want to determine the last time a particular item appeared in the list. ...

Discover More
Subscribe

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

View most recent newsletter.

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 7 - 0?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


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.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

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

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.