How to Truncate Text in Excel: The Ultimate 2024 Guide

Truncating text in Excel is a handy little trick to know, especially when dealing with large amounts of data. To put it simply, it means cutting off text at a particular point. Whether you want to shorten text to fit into a cell or to make your data look cleaner, Excel has got you covered. By the end of this brief explanation, you’ll know exactly how to truncate text in Excel with ease.

Step by Step Tutorial on How to Truncate Text in Excel

Before we dive into the nitty-gritty, let’s understand what we’re trying to achieve here. The steps below will guide you through truncating text in Excel, ensuring that your data is displayed exactly as you want it.

Step 1: Select the Cell or Range of Cells

Click on the cell or drag your mouse over a range of cells where you want to truncate text.

This is where it all starts. By selecting the cell or cells, you’re telling Excel exactly where you want changes to be made. Make sure you’ve got the right cells selected to avoid any mix-ups.

Step 2: Open the Format Cells Dialog Box

Right-click on the selected cell(s) and choose ‘Format Cells’ from the context menu.

This step is crucial because the ‘Format Cells’ dialog box is where the magic happens. It’s the control room for changing the appearance of your cells, including truncating text.

Step 3: Go to the Number Tab

In the Format Cells dialog box, click on the ‘Number’ tab to see various formatting options.

The ‘Number’ tab might seem a bit misleading since we’re dealing with text, but trust me, it’s the right place to be.

Step 4: Select the Text Category

Under the ‘Number’ tab, choose the ‘Text’ category from the list of available options.

Choosing the ‘Text’ category ensures that Excel understands we’re dealing with textual data, not numbers or dates or anything else.

Step 5: Use the LEFT or RIGHT Function

To truncate text from the beginning, use the =LEFT(text, number_of_characters) function. To truncate from the end, use =RIGHT(text, number_of_characters) function.

The LEFT and RIGHT functions are your go-to tools for truncating text. They’re simple to use and highly effective. Just replace ‘text’ with the cell reference and ‘number_of_characters’ with how many characters you want to keep.

After completing these steps, your text will be truncated as specified. Excel will display the modified text in the selected cells, and you can adjust it further if necessary.

Tips for Truncating Text in Excel

  • Always make a backup of your original data before making any changes. Better safe than sorry!
  • Use the LEN function to determine the length of your text before truncating. It can help you decide how many characters to keep.
  • Remember that truncating text is not the same as wrapping text. Truncating cuts off the text, while wrapping moves it onto the next line within the cell.
  • Consider using the CONCATENATE function if you need to combine truncated text with other text or symbols.
  • Experiment with different numbers of characters to truncate until you find the perfect fit for your cells.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I undo text truncation in Excel?

Yes, you can undo text truncation by using the ‘Undo’ button or pressing ‘Ctrl + Z’ on your keyboard.

How do I truncate text in the middle of a cell?

To truncate text in the middle, you will need to use a combination of the LEFT and RIGHT functions along with the LEN function to determine where to cut off the text.

Can I truncate text based on a specific character?

Yes, you can use the FIND function to locate a specific character and then apply the LEFT or RIGHT function to truncate at that point.

Is there a way to automatically truncate text when typing into a cell?

No, Excel doesn’t provide an automatic truncation feature while typing, but you can set a character limit using data validation rules.

Does truncating text affect the original data in the cell?

No, using formulas like LEFT or RIGHT to truncate text doesn’t change the original data. It only affects how the data is displayed.


  1. Select the Cell or Range of Cells
  2. Open the Format Cells Dialog Box
  3. Go to the Number Tab
  4. Select the Text Category
  5. Use the LEFT or RIGHT Function


So there you have it, a comprehensive guide on how to truncate text in Excel. Once you’ve mastered these steps, you’ll be able to manage your data like a pro, ensuring that all your information is presented just the way you want it. With Excel’s powerful functions at your disposal, the possibilities are endless.

Truncating text may seem daunting at first, but it’s a piece of cake once you get the hang of it. Remember, the key is to experiment and find what works best for you and your data. And don’t forget these tips and tricks – they could be lifesavers when you’re dealing with tricky text-truncation situations.

With your new-found knowledge, you’re all set to tackle any Excel challenge that comes your way. So go ahead, give it a try and watch your Excel spreadsheets transform before your eyes. Who knew truncating text could be so satisfying?

Join Our Free Newsletter

Featured guides and deals

You may opt out at any time. Read our Privacy Policy