How to Remove First Two Characters in Excel: A Step-by-Step Guide

Removing the first two characters in Excel is a straightforward task once you know the right formula. By using Excel’s built-in functions, you can easily trim the first two characters off any text in your spreadsheet. This guide will walk you through the steps to accomplish this.

How to Remove First Two Characters in Excel

This tutorial will show you how to remove the first two characters from a cell in Excel using a simple formula. This can be especially handy for cleaning up data or reformatting text.

Step 1: Open your Excel spreadsheet

Open the Excel file containing the data from which you want to remove the first two characters.

Ensure that you have your data organized and know which cells need to be modified.

Step 2: Select the cell where you want the result to appear

Click on the cell where you want the new text without the first two characters to appear.

This step helps you determine the output location for your trimmed text.

Step 3: Enter the formula

Type =RIGHT(A1, LEN(A1)-2) into the selected cell, replacing A1 with the actual cell reference.

This formula uses the RIGHT function to extract characters from the right of the text, and the LEN function to calculate the length of the text minus two characters.

Step 4: Press Enter

Hit the Enter key to apply the formula.

This action will immediately show the text in the selected cell without the first two characters.

Step 5: Copy the formula to other cells (if needed)

If you need to apply the same formula to multiple cells, drag the fill handle (a small square at the bottom-right corner of the cell) down or across the cells.

This allows you to replicate the formula across a range of cells efficiently.

After completing these steps, the cells you applied the formula to will display the text without the first two characters. You can now work with your cleaned-up data more effectively.

Tips for Removing First Two Characters in Excel

  • Use the Fill Handle: After entering the formula in one cell, use the fill handle to drag the formula across adjacent cells to save time.
  • Check for Errors: Verify that your data doesn’t contain any special characters or spaces that might disrupt the formula.
  • Use with Text Functions: Combine this method with other text functions like TRIM or CLEAN for optimal results.
  • Pivot Tables: If dealing with large datasets, consider using Pivot Tables to organize and clean your data before applying the formula.
  • Backup Your Data: Always make a copy of your original data before making bulk modifications.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I remove more than two characters?

Yes, you can modify the formula to remove more or fewer characters by adjusting the number in the formula. For example, =RIGHT(A1, LEN(A1)-3) will remove the first three characters.

Does this work with numbers?

Yes, this method works with any text string, including numbers formatted as text. Ensure the numbers are stored as text for the formula to work correctly.

What if my data is in a different format?

If your data is in a different format, such as dates or times, you might need a different approach. This method is primarily for text strings.

Can I undo this action?

Yes, you can undo any changes by pressing Ctrl + Z or using the Undo button in Excel.

Is there an alternative method?

Yes, you can also use the MID function: =MID(A1, 3, LEN(A1)-2). This function directly specifies the starting point and the number of characters to extract.


  1. Open your Excel spreadsheet.
  2. Select the cell where you want the result to appear.
  3. Enter the formula.
  4. Press Enter.
  5. Copy the formula to other cells (if needed).


By following these easy steps, you can quickly remove the first two characters from any text string in Excel. This method is not only efficient but also highly adaptable to various data-cleaning needs. Whether you’re dealing with product codes, user IDs, or any other text-based information, knowing how to remove the first two characters can be incredibly useful.

Consider testing the formula on a small portion of your data first to ensure it works as expected. And remember, Excel offers a rich set of functions that can be combined to handle even more complex data manipulation tasks. If you’re interested in learning more Excel tips and tricks, be sure to explore additional resources and keep experimenting with different functions to enhance your data management skills. Happy Excel-ing!

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