The **SPLIT** function in Google Sheets can be used to divide text based on a specific delimiter.

To get the first item that results from the **SPLIT** function, you can use the following syntax:

=QUERY(SPLIT(A2, " "), "SELECT Col1")

This particular example will split the text in cell **A2** using a space as a delimiter and then it will return only the first item that results from the split.

For example, if the string in cell **A2** is **Andy Bernard** then this formula will return **Andy**.

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

**Example: How to Use SPLIT Function and Get First Item in Google Sheets**

Suppose we have the following column of names in Google Sheets:

Suppose we would like to split the names based on where a space occurs and then get only the first item that results from the split.

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

=QUERY(SPLIT(A2, " "), "SELECT Col1")

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

The formula splits the names in column A based on where the space occurs and then only returns the first item from the split.

For this particular example, the first name of each person in column A is returned.

Note that if you’d like to return the second item instead, you can replace **Col1** with **Col2** in the formula:

=QUERY(SPLIT(A2, " "), "SELECT Col2")

The following screenshot shows how to use this formula in practice:

This time the formula returns the second item from the split.

Feel free to use Col3, Col4, Col5, etc. to instead return the third, fourth, fifth item, etc. from the **SPLIT** function.

**How This Formula Works**

Recall the formula that we used to split the text and get the first item from the resulting split:

=QUERY(SPLIT(A2, " "), "SELECT Col1")

Here is how this formula works:

First, the **SPLIT **function splits the text in cell **A2** based on where the space occurs.

For example, the name **Andy Bernard** is split into one column that contains **Andy** and a second column that contains **Bernard**.

Next, the **QUERY** function selects only the first column from the output.

The end result is that we’re able to get only the first item from the split, which is **Andy**.

**Additional Resources**

The following tutorials explain how to perform other common tasks in Google Sheets:

Google Sheets: How to Split Text into Rows

Google Sheets: How to Split Date & Time

Google Sheets: How to Use SPLIT with Multiple Delimiters