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How to use the MID function in Excel – Excelchat

The MID Excel function is designed to extract a substring from the middle of any given text string.

The MID function is classified as an Excel text function which returns a specific number of characters beginning at a position of our choosing.

Figure 1. of MID Function in Excel

Generic Formula


  • text = The original text string to extract from
  • start_num = The exact position of the initial character to extract
  • num_chars = The amount of characters to be extracted

How to Use the Excel Mid Function

Using the following simple steps will help us extract text with the MID function Excel;

  1. We must first collect and arrange our text strings for extraction in our worksheet:

Figure 2. of Text Strings for Extraction in Excel

Be sure to leave a bank column of cells for the MID formula to return our text results (see column D above).

Our goal here is to extract a specific number of text characters from the text strings in column A.

  1. The Excel MID formula we will insert into cell D2 of our spreadsheet example is as follows:


Figure 3. of MID Function in Excel

The MID formula extracted the word “unexpected” (10 characters) from a given position in our original text string.

  1. Modify and copy the MID Excel function in cell D2 above, down into the other cells in the column for similar results:

Figure 4. MID Function in Excel


  • The MID function will always return a text string of characters, even if our extracted substring contains digits only.
  • If our start_num value is more than the length of our original text string , then the Excel Mid formula will return an empty string value  (“”).
  • If our start_num value is lower than 1, the Excel Mid formula will return an error #VALUE!
  • If our num_chars value is below 0 ( a negative number), the Excel Mid formula will return the error #VALUE!
  • If our num_chars value is 0, the Excel Mid formula will return an empty text string (blank cell).

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