# 6 Ways to Remove the First 2 Characters in Excel

The removal of specific characters from a cell or a group of cells is a common task in Excel. When working with data that contains unnecessary prefixes or codes, it might be very helpful to remove the first two characters. Fortunately, Microsoft Excel offers a variety of ways to get rid of the first two characters. So in this article, I will explore six different ways that will help you to remove the first 2 characters in Excel.

In the following dataset, there are two columns, **Sample Dataset**, and **Result**. Notice that in the column **Sample Dataset**, I have a list of full names. Two characters precede each name. The first two characters are sometimes numerical, alphabetical, or symbolic, and some even have combinations of these.

Now I will show you a few methods that will help you remove the first 2 characters in Excel.

## Remove the First 2 Characters in Excel Using VBA

Using the **VBA** code can be helpful in removing the first 2 characters in Excel, especially if you need to perform this task repeatedly or on a large dataset. The VBA code will help you receive the results within a few seconds.

This piece of VBA code can smoothly remove the numeric characters from the cells in Excel. Just insert the code inside a new **Module** in your **Visual Basic Editor** and then **Run** it.

```
Sub RemoveFirstTwoChars()
Dim inputRange As Range
Dim outputRange As Range
Dim inputCell As Range
Dim outputCell As Range
'Specify input range
Set inputRange = Range("A2:A10") 'Replace with your input range
'Specify output range
Set outputRange = Range("B2:B10") 'Replace with your output range
'Loop through input range and remove first two characters of each cell
For Each inputCell In inputRange
Set outputCell = outputRange.Cells(inputCell.Row - inputRange.Row + 1, 1)
If Len(inputCell.Value) >= 2 Then
outputCell.Value = Right(inputCell.Value, Len(inputCell.Value) - 2)
Else
outputCell.Value = ""
End If
Next inputCell
End Sub
```

**Editable line 1**

**Set inputRange = Range("A2:A10")**

Here, the data from where I want to remove the first 2 characters are in the range **A2:A10.** So, you may need to modify the **range** according to your dataset.

**Editable line 2**

**Set outputRange = Range("B2:B10")**

Specify the range where you want to place the output.

**Editable line 3 (Optional)**

**outputCell.Value = Right(inputCell.Value, Len(inputCell.Value) - 2)**

Here, the **RIGHT** function eliminates the first **2** characters from the left side. To remove more characters replace **2** with your desired value.

Steps to remove the first 2 characters in Excel using VBA:

- Press
**ALT + F11**to open the**Visual Basic Editor**. - Then select
**Insert > Module.** - Then paste the code into the new module.
- Click on the
**Run**button or press the**F5**key to run the code.

As I ran the **VBA code**, It instantly filled up the cell range **B2:B10** with the output.

## Remove the First 2 Characters in Excel Using REPLACE Function

The **REPLACE function** in Excel is dedicated to working in a way that replaces an old text with a new text. So, in this method, I am going to use the **REPLACE function** to replace the first 2 characters with black space.

**Syntax**

=REPLACE(old_text, start_num, num_char, new_text)

**Formula**

=REPLACE(A2,1,2,””)

**Formula Explanation**

**A2**is the**old_text**here. It indicates the cell address where you want to perform the formula.**1**indicates the**start_num**of the formula. From the left side, the position of the first character is**1**.**2**is the**char_num**. The number of characters that I want to remove is**2**, that’s why the**char_num**is**2**.- As I want to replace the 2 characters with empty spaces, for this reason, the
**new_text**in this formula is**“ “**.

To use the **REPLACE** function to remove the first 2 characters in Excel:

- Select cell
**B2**. - Write the formula:
**=REPLACE(A2,1,2,””)** - Press the
**ENTER**key. - Now copy down the formula by dragging the
**Fill Handle**icon from cell**B2**to cell**B10**.

The **REPLACE function** has removed the first 2 characters successfully. Have a look:

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## Remove First 2 Characters in Excel Using RIGHT & LEN Function

The **RIGHT function** helps to extract a specified number of characters from the right side of a text string in Excel. And, to figure out the number of characters in a given text string in Excel, I will use the **LEN function**. As an alternative technique to remove the first 2 characters from a cell, I am going to use a combination formula of the **RIGHT function** and **LEN function**.

**Syntax**

**=RIGHT(text,LEN(text)-2)**

**Formula**

=RIGHT(A2,LEN(A2)-2)

**Formula Explanation**

**A2**is the**text**argument in the formula. It is the cell address where I am going to apply the formula.**LEN(A2)-2**means the 2 characters are subtracted from the total length of the cell.

Steps to remove the first 2 characters in Excel using the RIGHT & LEN function:

- Select cell
**B2**. - Type the formula
**: =RIGHT(text,LEN(text)-2)** - Press
**ENTER**. - Now, drag down the
**Fill Handle**icon to copy the formula from cell**B2**to cell**B10**.

This way, you can customize the formula to trim characters from the right with the **RIGHT function** or from the left side with the **LEFT function**.

## Remove the First 2 Characters in Excel Using MID & LEN Functions

With the **MID function**, it is possible to retrieve a portion of the string from a provided text string, by indicating the starting position and length of the string. And again, to count the number of characters in the string, I am going to use the **LEN function**.

**Syntax**

=MID(text, start_num, LEN(text)-2)

**Formula**

=MID(A2,3,LEN(A2)-2)

**Formula Explanation**

**A2**is the**text**argument in the formula. It is the cell address where I am going to apply the formula.**3**is the**start_num**. It indicates the starting number from where the characters will be returned in the result.**LEN(A2)-2**is the**char_num**. It mentions that all the characters will return in the result except the first 2 characters from the left side.

To remove the first two characters using MID & LEN functions, follow the steps below:

- At first, select cell
**B2**. - Type this formula:
**=MID(A2,3,LEN(A2)-2)**

- Next, hit the
**ENTER**key. - Now, drag the
**Fill Handle**to copy the formula in the cell range**B2:B10**.

The **MID function** worked fine to remove the first 2 characters from the target cell range.

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## Use Text to Columns Feature to Remove the First 2 Characters in Excel

The **Text to Columns** feature is a great tool that can separate the text string within the columns. In this technique, I will use the **Text to Columns** tool to separate the first 2 characters from the selected cell range.

So, here are the steps to remove the first 2 characters in Excel with **Text to Columns**:

- At first, select the cell range
**A2:A10**. - Next, go to the
**Data**tab.

- Now, click on the
**Text to Column**icon from the**Data Tools**group.

This will bring up the**Convert Text to Columns Wizard**on the Excel sheet. - Now, select the option
**Fixed Width**. - Hit
**Next**.

- After that, inside the
**Data Preview**box, position the cursor between the second and third characters and give a right-click.

It will create a barrier between the first 2 characters and the rest of the characters. - Then click on the
**Finish**button.

You will see the cells of the**Sample Dataset**are separated into 2 columns now,**column A**and**column B**. As a result, the first 2 characters are in**column A**, and the rest are in**column B**.

To clean up the column of the first 2 characters, follow these steps. - Select the cell range
**A2:A10**. - Now, go to the
**Home**tab from the ribbon. - Then click on the
**Delete**drop-down menu from the**Cells**group. - Select
**Delete cells**.

The**Delete**dialog box will pop up on the screen. - Select the option
**Shift cells****left**and click**OK**.

The results are placed inside the **Sample Dataset** column. If you want you can keep them in a separate column.

## Use the Flash Fill Feature to Remove the First 2 Characters in Excel

The **Flash Fill** is a very smart tool. It readily catches the pattern of the first cell and fills up the column following the top cell. I am going to use the **Flash Fill** feature to show you this last approach.

Now, use the **Flash Fill** feature to remove the first 2 characters in Excel:

- At first, manually write down the content of cell
**A2**as it is, except for the first 2 characters.

- Secondly, go to the
**Data**tab. - Next, click on the
**Flash Fill**icon from the**Data Tools**group.

The** Flash Fill** instantly understood that I wanted to receive the cells without the first 2 characters inside.

## Conclusion

I hope this article helped you find what you were looking for and that you succeeded in removing the first two characters from the cells in Excel. So, please visit our page more often. Also if you want to know more about removing characters, **click here**. Lastly, let us know how you liked our **blogs**. Thanks for reading!

## Frequently Asked Questions

### How do I remove second character in Excel?

To remove the second character in Excel, you can use the CONCATENATE function along with the MID function. Here’s a formula you can use: **=CONCATENATE(LEFT(cell_reference, 1), MID(cell_reference, 3, LEN(cell_reference)-2))**

Replace “cell_reference” with the reference to the cell containing the text. This formula concatenates the first character with the portion of the text starting from the third character, effectively removing the second character. Adjust the cell reference accordingly for your specific case.

### How do I remove 3 digits from left in Excel?

To remove 3 digits from the left in Excel, use the RIGHT function along with LEN. Here’s a formula you can use: **=RIGHT(cell_reference, LEN(cell_reference)-3)**

Replace “cell_reference” with the reference to the cell containing the text. This formula extracts the portion of the text starting from the fourth character, effectively removing the first three digits. Adjust the cell reference accordingly for your specific case.

### How do I cut off digits in Excel?

To cut off digits in Excel, use the** LEFT** or **RIGHT** function depending on whether you want to retain the leftmost or rightmost part of the number. Here’s an example to cut off the rightmost digits: **=LEFT(cell_reference, LEN(cell_reference) – num_digits_to_cut)**

Replace “cell_reference” with the reference to the cell containing the number and adjust “num_digits_to_cut” to specify the number of digits you want to cut off from the right. This formula retains the leftmost part of the number, effectively cutting off the specified digits. Adjust the cell reference and digit count as needed for your specific case.

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Dear Rhidi,

Very beautiful article and well explained. Very informative and that too Formula =REPLACE(A2,1,2,””) is the best, I used this to remove invoice number for Eg. ABA/222/2024 (no. 222), I used the formula as =REPLACE(A2,6,3,”000″) and got the result as 1235/000/2024.

Before finding this Blog I have searched many websites/Blogs and struggle to learn the difficult formula. This one is the best and easy compared to others.

Thank you.

Thanks for your feedback!