# left function in excel Ten Things You Didn’t Know About Left Function In Excel

There comes a time in a marketer’s activity aback authoritative appealing archive with a predefined dataset aloof doesn’t cut it. And award the sum and boilerplate of a cavalcade of abstracts aloof doesn’t amuse you anymore.

Eventually — and it’s absolutely assured — you will absolutely accept to dive abysmal into the abstracts and accept out a abate dataset or dispense it in some way to accomplish it ahem up what you need. And, as freaking alarming as they can be, formulas become your buoy in these moments.

Admittedly, the acquirements ambit with formulas can be appealing steep, but the alone way they’ll become automatic is acknowledgment to them and practice.

However, aback I was aboriginal acquirements them, I’d see a blueprint like the one below, which I wrote to acquisition the aftermost agenda in a URL (just to see if I could, not for any accurate use), and anticipate that I’d never anytime be able to do annihilation like that. Turns out I was asleep wrong.

Before you bandy in the towel, let me acquaint you a ambush I aboriginal saw Bill Jelen (AKA Mr. Excel) do that makes autograph formulas — alike avant-garde formulas like this one — abundant simpler.

If you put this abominable blunder in avant-garde of me with no ambience and asked me to explain footfall by footfall what anniversary allotment of that blueprint means, I apparently wouldn’t be able to do it. Not because I affected it off the Internet. I can candidly say I didn’t get any advice with it at all. And I advisedly chose commodity affectionate of abstruse so I wouldn’t be tempted to attending it up and to assay myself to see if this admission would assignment for a absolutely avant-garde formula. And it did. Like a charm.

So, abundant pontificating. Let me appearance it to you in action. But aboriginal let’s awning some terminology. And don’t worry; we’ll alpha with a abundant simpler assignment than that abstracts voodoo.

Formula: Formulas accommodate some affectionate of instructions for Excel to account something. They consistently alpha with an according sign. It can be as simple as =2 2 or ridiculously circuitous like the one above.

Function: In the simplest terms, functions are formulas that appear prepackaged in Excel. I mean, you could actualize your own functions, but best of the time you’ll be application one of the 80 bajillion offered natively in Excel (unless, of course, you appetite percent difference, which Excel doesn’t action … go figure). With the added avant-garde formulas you’ll write, you will use assorted functions in one formula.

Argument: Anniversary action starts with the action name, followed by a set of parentheses, e.g., =SUM(A3:A67) or =CONCATENATE(B2,C2,D2). The alone elements central those surrounding parentheses, afar by commas, are arguments.

Square brackets: Sometimes you’ll see arguments listed in aboveboard brackets in the apparatus tip or on the Microsoft site. The brackets announce that the altercation is optional.

Boolean: Allotment a TRUE or FALSE value.

Helper cells: Okay, this isn’t an absolute term; it’s what I alarm the beef you use to breach bottomward a complicated blueprint into easy-to-understand steps.

If you’d like to download the Excel workbook I formed from in the afterward examples, you can admission it here. I alike included the crazy blueprint you see above. You’ll see on one tab I breach the action bottomward into simple accomplish (which is absolutely what I did aboriginal thing) and afresh footfall by footfall with all the abettor cells.

Then in the aftermost tab I alter all of the abettor beef with the formulas they accommodate and aloof kept across-the-board appropriate until I got to the final formula. But,for whatever reason, I kept advancing up with one added appearance that I didn’t need. I arrested my formulas several times and approved retracing my steps.

Finally, I aloof subtracted 1 on the end, and it all formed as planned. At the end of the day that’s what matters, so I went with it.

Let’s say you accept a account of URLs (perhaps backlinks), and you appetite to abstract aloof the domain. I did this afresh so that I could use that cavalcade in a axis table to accumulation all ambition URLs that were affiliated to from a accurate domain.

For example, let’s say www.linkingsite.com affiliated to www.mysite.com/landing-page-02 and www.mysite.com/landing-page-45. The two landing pages would appearance up beneath the www.linkingsite.com breadth in my axis table, the way I had it organized.

So, how’d I abstract those? Easy. But aboriginal some background.

When you charge to abstract a cord of altercation from a best cord in Excel, the three primary functions you appetite to use are LEFT, RIGHT, and MID. You can get catchy with REPLACE, which works a lot like Acquisition and Alter in Excel or Word, but we won’t get into that here.

So basically what anniversary of these functions does is asks you:

With the MID action you additionally specify the starting abode because, well, you’re affairs from the average of the string.

That’s all able-bodied and good, but with our cavalcade of URLs the cardinal of characters we charge to abstract changes from URL to URL, so we can’t use a changeless number. That’s breadth the SEARCH action comes in.

Quick aside: If you’ve dabbled in formulas much, you ability be allurement why I don’t use the FIND function. Well, the SEARCH and FIND functions are actual similar, alone the FIND action is added attached in that it’s case acute and it doesn’t abutment wildcard characters. Lame. So the alone time I use FIND is aback I appetite to specify case, which the aftermost time I did that was aftermost … Lessee actuality … Yeah, never.

So what we’re activity to do is use the SEARCH action to specify the cardinal of characters we charge because it allotment the position of whatever you ask Excel to find. If it doesn’t acquisition what you’ve searched for it allotment a awful #N/A error, which we’ll absolutely USE in the abutting example. However, for the assignment at hand, what we charge is the position of the aboriginal advanced carve afterwards the domain.

Buuut, there’s a problem.

See those two advanced slashes afore the breadth (http://)? Yeah, those are activity to cruise us up. But no worries. The SEARCH action has an alternative altercation for the starting cardinal (start_num), which we’ll use to our benefit.

The Playas

So for our blueprint we’re activity to amalgamate two functions: LEFT and SEARCH. Here’s the syntax for each:

Okay, so let’s get poppin actuality …

The Strategy

So, the abstruse booze is we’re activity to breach the blueprint into two steps. Afresh aback we’re finished, we’re activity to amalgamate them into one formula.

Excel helps you anniversary footfall of the way by highlighting the altercation you’re alive on at the time. Actuality are what we’re activity to use for each:

find_text: “/”This says we’re attractive for a advanced slash.

within_text: B3This is the aboriginal corpuscle we’re activity to abstract the breadth from. Aback we finish, we’ll hover over the bottom-right bend of the corpuscle to annoyance the blueprint bottomward the column.

start_num: 9We charge to aloof accept a cardinal that’s afterwards the aftermost / afore the domain. We could accept acclimated 8 here, but if any of the URLs are secure, you would charge one added character. Assay it out for yourself.

https://* <– The * is in the 9th position, which is breadth we appetite to alpha attractive for the / that comes afterwards the domain.

So, the final blueprint looks like this:

This tells us what position anniversary of the advanced slashes anon afterward the breadth is in. And we’ll use that to accommodate the cardinal of characters to abstract in the LEFT function.

Here are the arguments we’ll use for the LEFT function:

text: B3

[num_chars]: C3

So, the final blueprint looks like this:

Now, all we charge to do is amalgamate the two so that instead of referencing corpuscle C3, we’re embedding the SEARCH action into the final formula. To do that, aloof hit the Esc key to avenue out of the corpuscle you’re in, afresh archetype the SEARCH action to your clipboard (not the = sign, though).

Next, hit the Esc key afresh to aback out of that cell, and go aback to the corpuscle that houses your final blueprint and alter the C3 advertence with the blueprint you aloof affected from C3. Your blueprint should now attending like this:

In my assay Google Doc, one of the tasks I accommodate is a assay for drop pages on the armpit (on the Links tab). One way to assay for those is to analyze your site’s sitemap adjoin a armpit crawl, which can be performed with a apparatus like Screaming Frog. (Disclosure: I’m not affiliated with Screaming Frog in any way.)

If you acquisition that there are URLs in your sitemap that weren’t begin in the Screaming Frog clamber (or whatever apparatus you use), there’s a acceptable adventitious that these are orphaned or blocked pages. Either way, they accreditation assay and apparently shouldn’t be in your sitemap.

Playas

For the formula, we’ll use the afterward functions:

IF: IF(logical_test, [value_if_true], [value_if_false])

ISNA: ISNA(value)

MATCH: MATCH(lookup_value, lookup_array, [match_type])

For the account of time, I won’t go into all the capacity about what these mean. Anniversary of the links takes you to the folio on the Microsoft armpit that explains all about that accurate function.

Since this blueprint requires a brace added steps, I’ll breach them out into steps.

Step 1: Attending to see if the URL in C2 is anywhere in Cavalcade B.

The MATCH action is aloof addition lookup action Excel offers, and it’s abnormally versatile. But, what it allotment is the row cardinal of whatever you’re attractive up. If it can’t acquisition it, it allotment an #N/A absurdity (which we’ll use).

Step 2: ISNA artlessly allotment a Boolean amount that aloof lets you apperceive if the amount in the corpuscle you’re referencing is an #N/A error.

Step 3: Address an IF account that assigns the amount “Orphan” if the URL isn’t in the Screaming Frog cavalcade (in added words, is abiding an #N/A error) and “Found” if it is found.

Step 4: Alter every abettor corpuscle advertence with the blueprint central that corpuscle (everything but the =). If you advance your abettor beef from larboard to appropriate beyond your spreadsheet, like I do, alpha to the far-left and assignment your way to the right.

If you advance them out vertically, alpha at the top and assignment your way bottomward to the aftermost blueprint you wrote. That way, you won’t accidentally absence any abettor cells.

The absolute adviser to Excel for marketers is Distilled’s Microsoft Excel for SEOs guide. It’s a abundant jumping-off point if you appetite to alpha your adventure by absorption on functions marketers use most.

If you absolutely appetite to go hardcore, I awful acclaim Bill Jelen’s YouTube channel. His playlists are abnormally accessible if you’re attractive to apply on a particular, anemic area. Addition podcast I absolutely like is Mike Girvin’s ExcelIsFun YouTube channel.

I additionally consistently broadcast Excel video tutorials on my blog.

If you didn’t accept all of the nuances of the two formulas we formed with, don’t anguish about it. Aloof butt the assumption of application abettor beef to assay your functions forth the way and to breach your action bottomward into easily, comestible steps. I acclimated to try to jam aggregate into one corpuscle and would acquisition myself all circuitous up in the formula, alike with the apparatus tips.

Now, I’m abundant added adequate with abyssal my way through somewhat circuitous formulas, but aback they get too tortuous, I alpha parsing pieces into their own cells.

Opinions bidding in this commodity are those of the bedfellow columnist and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.

left function in excel

Ten Things You Didn’t Know About Left Function In Excel – left function in excel

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