You can use the following formula to extract the first five characters from a string in Excel:

=LEFT(A2, 5)

This particular formula extracts the first five characters from cell **A2**.

For example, if cell **A2** contains **Mavericks **then this formula will return **Maver**.

**Note**: If the cell contains spaces in the first five characters then these spaces will be counted towards the total character count of five.

The following example shows how to use this formula in practice.

**Example: How to Extract First Five Characters from Cell in Excel**

Suppose we have the following column of basketball team names in Excel:

Suppose we would like to extract the first five characters from each cell in column A.

We can type the following formula into cell **B2** to do so:

=LEFT(A2, 5)

We can then click and drag this formula down to each remaining cell in column B:

Column B now contains the first character from each corresponding cell in column A.

For example:

- The formula extracts
**Maver**from**Mavericks** - The formula extracts
**Spurs**from**Spurs** - The formula extracts
**Rocke**from**Rockets**

And so on.

Note that this formula uses the **LEFT** function to extract a specific number of characters from the left of each string.

If your string contains a blank space as the first character, then this formula will simply return a blank space.

To ignore leading blanks, you can use the **TRIM** function within the **LEFT** function as follows:

=LEFT(TRIM(A2), 5)

**Note**: You can find the complete documentation for the **LEFT **function in Excel here.

**Additional Resources**

The following tutorials explain how to perform other common operations in Excel:

Excel: How to Remove Specific Text from Cells

Excel: How to Extract First Word from Cell

Excel: How to Insert a Character into a String