Remove First Character

[no_toc] In this tutorial, we’ll show you various technics and tricks to remove the first character from a string in Excel. Discover how to use our free Excel add-ins for data cleansing purposes.

Okay, here we go…

How to remove the first character from a cell or string in Excel?

Example 1: Use the REPLACE formula

Formula Example

The REPLACE function replaces the first character in a cell with an empty string.

Like this: “”

replace formula example

Arguments of the formula

  • old_text is the original value from column E
  • start_num is hardcoded as the number 1
  • num_chars comes from column F
  • new_text is entered as an empty string (“”)

The behavior or REPLACE is automatic. With these inputs, the REPLACE function replaces the first character in E4 with an empty string and returns the result.

Example 2: Remove the first n characters

Here is the common formula to remove the first n characters from a string.

remove the n first character

Example 3: Delete First N Characters using RIGHT and LEN Function

If you want to delete the first N characters just combine the RIGHT and LEN function.

Let’s see the formula and syntax:


Example: To remove the first three characters from string in cell E6, apply the formula


and press Enter.

using the right and len functions

Example 4: User-defined Function to remove the first character

We love to write user-defined functions (UDFs) to boost your productivity.

Check this short snippet below:

Function RemoveFirstChar(rng As String, counter As Long)
RemoveFirstChar = Right(rng, Len(rng) - counter)
End Function

Just press Alt + F11 to open the VBA Editor and insert the code into a new module. Save your workbook as to a .xlsm file. From now, you can use the function.

Example 5: Use DataXL add-in

Use our DataXL productivity tools for Excel and follow these steps below:

  1. Go to the DataXL tab on the ribbon. Select the cell or the range which contains the text.
  2. Click on the Text Tools icon. A new window will appear. Select the Delete.
  3. Enter the value.
  4. Example: If you want to remove the first 5 characters from a string, use the 5 as a parameter.
text tools userform to delete first character

Download the formula example.

Additional resources and examples