How to☝️Extract a Substring in Google Sheets: The Ultimate Guide

To extract a substring in Google Sheets, click on a cell, go to the Formula bar, and enter one of the following formulas: =LEFT(A1, 4), =MID(A1, 6, 9), or =RIGHT(A1, 3). Lastly, press Enter to get the result.

Scroll down to learn more about this topic and to make sure you don’t miss out on anything!

What Is a Substring?

In Google Sheets, a substring is a contiguous sequence of characters within a string of data. For example, the string “what a wonderful day” contains the substrings “what,” “a,” “wonderful,” and “day.”

How to Extract a Substring in Google Sheets: The Essentials

Extracting a substring from a larger string is a common operation in Google Sheets. There are several ways to do this. Let’s take a look at the various options we have available.

Extract Substring from the Left Side of the String

To extract text from the beginning of a string, simply do the following: 

  1. Click on a blank cell where you want the result.
  2. Navigate to the Formula bar and enter the formula =LEFT(A1, 4), where A1 is the cell with the text and 4 is the number of letters you need to copy into the new cell.

Extract Substring from the Left Side of the String

  1. Press the Enter key on your keyboard.

Extract Substring from the Left Side of the String in Google Sheets

Super easy!

Extract Substring from the Middle of the String

The following steps will show you how to extract text from the middle of a string. Let’s see how it works!

  1. Select a blank cell.
  2. In the Formula bar, type the formula =MID(A1, 6, 9). Here A1 is the cell with the text, 6 is the letter from which the count begins, and 9 is the number of letters you want to extract.
    Extract Substring from the Middle of the String
  3.  Hit the Enter key.

Easy as ABC!

Extract Substring from the Right Side of the String

Next, let’s consider how to extract text from the end of a string!

  1. Select a blank cell where you want the result to show.
  2. Go to the Formula bar and enter the formula =RIGHT(A1, 3), where A1 is the cell with the text, and 3 is the number of letters you need to extract.
    Extract Substring from the Right Side of the String
  3. Press Enter.

Extract Substring from the Right Side of the String in Google Sheets

And there you have it!

How to Extract a Substring Using Certain Text 

Learn how to extract a substring using specific text by following the formulas in this section.

Extract a Substring Before a Certain Text 

If you want to extract from the beginning of a string based on a specific word, there is a way to do this. Take a look below:

  1. Select the cell where you want the result.
  2. In the Formula bar, enter the formula =LEFT(A1, SEARCH(“green”, A1)-1). A1 is the cell with text, and green is the word from which counting begins.
    Extract a Substring Before a Certain Text
  3. Press the Enter key on your keyboard.

Extract a Substring Before a Certain Text in Google Sheets

That’s all it takes! Here is the result.

Extract a Substring After a Certain Text or Character

Check out the following step-by-step guide to extract a substring after a specific text or character:

  1. Click on a blank cell.
  2. Go to the Formula bar and type the formula =REGEXREPLACE(A1,”(.*)green(.*)”,”$2″), where A1 contains the text and green is the word from which counting begins.
    Extract a Substring After a Certain Text or Character
  3. Press the Enter key.

Extract a Substring After a Certain Text or Character in Google Sheets

Voila!

How to Pull Text from Between Two Occurrences of a Character

If you need to find and extract the text from between two special characters, you can use the method below to find what you need: 

  1. Click on a blank cell where you want the result.
  2. Navigate to the Formula bar and use the formula =MID(A1, SEARCH(“_”,A1) + 1, SEARCH(“_”,A1,SEARCH(“_”,A1)+1) – SEARCH(“_”,A1) – 1). A1 is the cell with your text, and “_ are the characters between which the desired word is located.
    How to Pull Text from Between Two Occurrences of a Character
  3. Hit the Enter key.

How to Pull Text from Between Two Occurrences of a Character in Google Sheets

Here is the desired result!

How to Extract the Nth Word from a Text String

Take a look at the process below to see how to extract the nth word from a text string:

  1. Select a blank cell.
  2. Go to the Formula bar and enter the formula =TRIM(MID(SUBSTITUTE($A$1,” “,REPT(” “,LEN($A$1))), (B1-1)*LEN($A$1)+1, LEN($A$1))). Here A1 contains the text and B1 is the cell with the word number you need to pull (in this case, 3, or the 3rd number).
    How to Extract the Nth Word from a Text String
  3. Tap Enter.

How to Extract the Nth Word from a Text String in Google Sheets

And there is the result!

How to Extract a Substring Between Parentheses

Check out this guide on how to pull text from between parentheses in a string:

  1. Select the cell where you want the result.
  2. In the Formula bar, enter the formula =MID(A1,SEARCH(“(“,A1)+1, SEARCH(“)”,A1)-SEARCH(“(“,A1)-1). Here, A1 is the text-filled cell.
    How to Extract a Substring Between Parentheses
  3. Lastly, hit the Enter key.

How to Extract a Substring Between Parentheses in Google Sheets

Great! We have extracted the word between the parentheses.

How to Replace One Substring With Another

If you need to replace one substring with another, you can do it in just a few seconds:

  1. Click on a blank cell.
  2. Move to the Formula bar and type the formula =REPLACE(A1, FIND(“132”, A1), 3, “123”), where A1 contains text, and 132 is the text you need to replace with 123.
    How to Replace One Substring With Another
  3.  Finally, press Enter.

How to Replace One Substring With Another in Google Sheets

Piece of cake!

How to Extract a Number from a String

Here are some tips that will help you extract a number from the string in case you need to do so:

Extract Number Substring from the Left of the String

It is recommended to use the formula below if the numbers are at the beginning of the cell.

  1. Choose the cell where you need the extracted number to go.
  2. In the Formula bar, type the formula =REGEXEXTRACT(A1,”^\d+”). A1 is the cell with the data.
    How to Extract a Number from a String
  3. Press the Enter key.

How to Extract a Number from a String in Google Sheets

Easy!

Extract Number Substring from the Right of the String

Now we will show how to extract numbers if they are located at the end of the entire text: 

  1. Select the cell where you want the extracted number to go.
  2. Move to the Formula bar and enter the formula =REGEXEXTRACT(A1,”\d+”). Here A1 contains the text.
    Extract Number Substring from the Right of the String
  3. Hit Enter.

Extract Number Substring from the Right of the String in Google Sheets

There you go! You have done it!

Extract Substring from Anywhere in a String

If there are numbers in the middle of your text, you can use the following formula to extract them into a separate cell. Let’s take a look:

  1. Click on a blank cell.
  2. Go to the Formula bar and enter the formula =REGEXEXTRACT(A1, “\d+”), where A1 contains your text.
    Extract Substring from Anywhere in a String
  3. Press Enter.

Extract Substring from Anywhere in a String in Google Sheets

The process is super simple!

 

 

 

 

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Daniel Smith
Daniel Smith
Daniel Smith is automation consultant with a passion for technology, data, AI, and machine learning. Daniel loves to learn about new technologies and how they can be applied to solve complex problems. He is also a big fan of productivity hacks and enjoys finding ways to automate tasks to make organizations more efficient.