How to Remove First Character in Excel 2013 Cell: Step-by-Step Guide

Removing the first character in an Excel 2013 cell is a common task that can be achieved with a simple formula. You can use the RIGHT function combined with the LEN function to extract all characters from a cell except the first one. After completing this action, the cell will display the data without the first character, which can be useful for formatting or data cleaning purposes.

After you complete the action, your Excel cell will no longer contain the first character that was originally there. This can be helpful if you’ve imported data with a leading character that you need to remove, or if you need to reformat the data for consistency across your spreadsheet.


Have you ever found yourself with a spreadsheet full of data that has an unwanted character at the beginning of each cell? It’s a frustrating problem that can make your data look messy and unprofessional. But don’t worry, if you’re using Excel 2013, there’s an easy fix! Removing the first character from a cell in Excel 2013 might sound like a complicated task, but it’s pretty straightforward once you get the hang of the formula.

Why is this topic important? Well, imagine you’ve imported a large amount of data, and each entry has a “#” at the beginning. That could throw off your entire dataset, couldn’t it? This skill is particularly relevant for data analysts, accountants, or anyone who works with large datasets in Excel. By mastering this simple function, you’ll save time and make your spreadsheets look cleaner and more professional.

How to Remove the First Character in Excel 2013 Cell

The following steps will guide you through the process of removing the first character from a cell in Excel 2013.

Step 1: Select the Cell

Select the cell from which you want to remove the first character.

When you select the cell, make sure it’s the active cell, indicated by a green border around it. If you need to remove the first character from multiple cells, you’ll apply the same formula to each one.

Step 2: Enter the Formula

Enter the formula: =RIGHT(A1, LEN(A1)-1) into the formula bar or another cell where you want the modified data to appear.

The RIGHT function in Excel returns the specified number of characters from the end of a text string. The LEN function calculates the length of the text in the cell. By subtracting 1 from the length of the text, you tell Excel to exclude the first character.

Step 3: Press Enter

Press Enter to apply the formula.

Once you press Enter, the cell will immediately update to display the text without the first character. If you entered the formula in a separate cell, the new cell will display the modified text, and the original cell will remain unchanged.


Easy to UseThe formula to remove the first character is straightforward and easy to use, even for those who are not Excel experts.
VersatileThis method can be used to remove any character, not just letters or numbers, making it versatile for different data cleaning needs.
Non-DestructiveUsing a formula to remove the first character ensures that the original data is not permanently altered, allowing for easy reversals if necessary.


Formula DependentThe cell becomes dependent on the formula, so if the formula is deleted, the result will be lost.
Requires UnderstandingUsers must have a basic understanding of Excel functions to use this method effectively.
Single Cell LimitationThe formula must be applied to each cell individually unless using advanced methods like “Fill Down” or “Copy-Paste”.

Additional Information

When working with Excel 2013, knowing how to remove the first character in a cell is a handy trick that can save you time and headaches. It’s especially useful when dealing with imported data that often comes with extra characters or identifiers that you need to clean up before analysis. A common real-world example would be imported CSV files that might contain quotation marks around strings.

Apart from using the RIGHT and LEN functions, Excel also offers other ways to manipulate text, such as MID, LEFT, and SUBSTITUTE. Learning these functions increases your data manipulation arsenal and makes you a more proficient Excel user. Remember, practice makes perfect, so don’t be afraid to experiment with these functions on sample data before applying them to your main dataset.

Another tip is to use the “Fill Handle” to apply the same formula across multiple cells quickly. This is done by dragging the small square at the bottom right corner of the cell with the formula across the cells you want to change.


  1. Select the Cell
  2. Enter the Formula: =RIGHT(A1, LEN(A1)-1)
  3. Press Enter

Frequently Asked Questions

What does the RIGHT function do?

The RIGHT function in Excel extracts a given number of characters from the right side of a text string.

Can this method be used to remove more than one character?

Yes, by adjusting the formula to subtract the number of characters you want to remove, you can remove more than one character.

Will this method work in other versions of Excel?

While this article is specific to Excel 2013, the formula should work in most other versions of Excel as well.

Is there a way to remove the first character from multiple cells at once?

Yes, you can use the “Fill Down” feature or copy and paste the formula into adjacent cells to apply it to multiple cells simultaneously.

What if I want to remove a specific character, not just the first one?

You can use the SUBSTITUTE function to replace a specific character with an empty text string.


Removing the first character in an Excel 2013 cell is a task that, once mastered, can greatly improve your workflow and data presentation. It’s a simple yet powerful technique that can help you clean and organize your data more effectively.

Whether you’re a data analyst, an accountant, or just someone who likes to keep their spreadsheets tidy, knowing how to manipulate text in Excel is a skill that will serve you well. So next time you’re faced with a dataset that’s not quite in the shape you need it to be, remember this handy formula: =RIGHT(A1, LEN(A1)-1). With this knowledge, you’ll be able to tackle those pesky first characters with confidence and ease.

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