Remove the First Character from a String in Google Sheets

Sometimes, you may want to remove the first character from the string and get the rest of the string in Google Sheets.

While you can do this manually for a short dataset, when you have tens or hundreds of such cells, using in-built formulas is the right way to do this.

In this short Google Sheets tutorial, I will show you how to remove the first characters from a string in Google Sheets using Text formulas.

How to Remove the First Character from a String in Google Sheets

Suppose you have a dataset a shown below and you want to get rid of the first character and only get the numeric part:

Dataset from which first character needs to be removed

Using the RIGHT Formula

Below is the formula that will remove the first character and give you the remaining part of the string:

=RIGHT(A2, LEN(A2)-1)

RIGHT formula to remove the first string in Google Sheets

The above formula first checks the length of the string (using the LEN function) and then subtracts 1 from it. This gives us the number of characters that we want to get from the right part of the string.

This value is then used in the RIGHT function to extract all the characters in a string, except the first one.

Using the MID Formula

Another way to remove the first character and get everything else is by using the MID formula. It uses the same logic as the one in the RIGHT function, with a slight difference in the syntax.

The below formula will give us everything except the first character from the string:

=MID(A2,2,LEN(A2)-1)

MID function in Google Sheets

The MID formula asks for the starting position (from which it should start extracting the characters), and the number of characters to be extracted.

You can further shorten this formula and use the one below:

=MID(A2,2,99999)

In the above formula, I give the MID function the starting position (which will be 2 as I don’t want the first character) and the length of the characters to be extracted.

Instead of using the LEN function to count the characters, I have used a really large number to extract all the characters. In case there are less number of characters (as in our example), it simply extracts everything.

Using the REPLACE Formula

There are multiple ways to dong the same thing with different formulas in Google Sheets.

Another quick way to do this would be to replace the first character with a blank character, and you can do this using the REPLACE function.

Below is the formula that will remove the first character and give you the rest:

=REPLACE(A2,1,1,"")

Replace function in Google Sheets

The above formula starts from the first position and replaces the first character with a blank.

Note: In all the three examples covered here, the result is through a formula. If you don’t want the formula after you have got the result, convert it into values. This way, you can even get rid of the original data if you don’t need it.

While I have shown you how to remove the first character in the above examples, you can easily modify the formulas to remove any number of characters from the beginning. Just tweak the formula to specify the number of characters instead of 1.

Hope you found this tutorial useful!

You may also like the following Google Sheets tutorials:

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