To extract the first word from some text in Excel, you can use a formula with built-in functions like FIND and LEFT.

Today’s tutorial is a **part of our definitive guide on Excel Formulas**.

## How to extract the first word from text in Excel?

**Here are the steps to get the first word from the text:**

- Open Excel
- Type =LEFT(text,FIND(” “,text)-1)
- Press Enter.
- The formula will extract the first word.

### Explanation

First, place the initial data set. The main point of the formula is the following:

The FIND function locates and gets the position of the first occurrence of a space (“ “) character in the given text string. The inner part of the formula returns the position as a number. Finally, starting from the first character, the LEFT function extracts the characters until the length of the first word – 1. We have to cut the last character because it’s the space.

In the example, the formula looks like this:

=LEFT(B3,FIND(” “,B3)-1)

**How do you get the first word if the cell contains only one word?** Error handling is important to show that something went wrong. Using the formula mentioned above, we’ll get a #VALUE! Error. It is important to prevent formula errors by using the IFERROR function.

=IFERROR(LEFT(B3,FIND(” “,B3)-1),B3) or

=IFERROR(LEFT(B3,FIND(” “,B3)-1),”The cell contains one word”)

In this case, the formula returns the first word:

=IFERROR(LEFT(B3,FIND(” “,B3)-1),B3)

**Explanation:** When an error occurs, the IFERROR expression returns with a user-specified message or the first word. Furthermore, it’s a smart way to handle the error: Add an extra space to the cell value before running the FIND function.

=LEFT(B3,FIND(” “,B3&” “)-1)

**Known limitation:** The above-demonstrated formula works only with the first space.

## Get the first word using a user-defined function

If you want to combine more than one built-in Excel into a formula, be careful; sometimes, it is not easy. In the example, we will use the GETWORDS **user-defined function**.

**Syntax:**

=GETWORDS(text, n, delimiter)

**text:**cell reference**n**: position**delimiter:**define a separator

The solution looks like this:

=GETWORDS(B5,1,” “)

We strongly recommend using our free **Excel add-ins** if you have to **clean data using Excel**. In addition, the productivity suite contains a **custom function library**.