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How to Use Excel VBA String Functions – Excelchat

When working with strings in VBA, we need to know how to manipulate those string functions. A String may be a sequence of letters, numbers or other characters stored as a text. In this tutorial, we will learn how to use VBA string functions like LEFT, RIGHT, MID, LEN, REPLACE, INSTR, LTRIM, SPLIT, and STRCOMP.

The syntax for the VBA string function is:

String (Number, Character)


  • Number – the number of characters in the returned string
  • Character – is the character code or a string representing the character to be repeated in the returned string.

Excel VBA String functions

Many string functions can be used in VBA and in the worksheet. However, we will concentrate on VBA string functions, which can or cannot be used in a worksheet.

Preparing to run VBA Excel String manipulations

We will create a command button to help understand how this VBA string functions work.


  • We will go to the Developer tab and select Command button under the ActiveX Controls group.


Figure 1 – Using VBA string functions

  • Next, we will drag to draw the command button on our excel worksheet.

Figure 2 – Assigning Macro for VBA Strings

  • To Assign Macro, we will make sure the Design mode is selected. Next, we will right click on the button and click on View Code. In the Microsoft Visual Basic window, we will be adding the codes from the following VBA string function examples.

How to extract part of a string

We use the Left, Right and Mid functions in extracting parts of a string. In this section, we will run the Left, Right and Mid functions on the word “John Magnus Smith”.




We use the Left function to extract a substring beginning from the left side of the string.

Dim text As String

text = "John Magnus Smith"

MsgBox Left(text, 4)

Figure 3 – Using Substrings in VBA

Figure 4 – Results




We use the Right VBA string function to extract a sub-string beginning from the right side of the string.

Dim text As String

text = "John Magnus Smith"

MsgBox Right(text, 4)

Figure 5 – Using VBA strings

Figure 6 – Using VBA String Manipulations


Mid Function


We can use the Mid string function to extract a substring beginning from the middle as specified by our VBA command.

Dim text As String

text = "John Magnus Smith"

MsgBox Mid(“John Magnus Smith”, 9, 4)

Figure 7 – VBA String functions

Figure 8 – Running VBA Text

Building String using the Join function

There are many ways to use the Join function. We will explain two popular ways.

  1. We can use the & operator to join or concatenate strings.

Dim text1 As String, text2 As String, text3 As String

text1 = "Jane"

text2 = "Tim"

text3 = ”Paul”

MsgBox text1 & " " & text2 & “ “ & text3

Figure 9 – VBA String

Figure 10 – Substrings in VBA

  1. We can also join to create one string by specifying a delimiter (“,”) as the second argument to the function.

Dim myDays(2) As String

   myDays(0) = "Mon"

   myDays(1) = "Tue"

   myDays(2) = "Wed"

MsgBox Join(myDays, ",")

Figure 11 – Joining VBA Strings

Figure 12 – VBA texts

Search within a string

We can use the InStr and InStrRev a string into multiple strings each stored as an element in an array.




We can use the InStr to find the position of the specified text from the beginning.

Sub FindSubString()

   Dim name As String

   name = "John Smith"

MsgBox InStr("John Smith", "Sm")

End Sub

Figure 13 – VBA find text in string

Figure 14 – Search Results


InStr Rev


Alternatively, we use the Instr Rev to search from the specified position. However, the InstrRev function can return the same value as the Instr because it searches from the end and then returns to begin from the start position.

Sub UsingInstrRev()

   Dim name As String

   name = "John Magnus Smith"

MsgBox InStrRev("John Magnus Smith", "t")

End Sub

Figure 15 – VBA in Strings

Figure 16 – Results

Replace part of a string

We can use the Replace VBA string function to replace one substring with another substring.  

Sub ReplaceExamples()

text = "John Magnus Smith"

MsgBox Replace(“John? Magnus? Smith”, “?”,  “;”)

End Sub

Figure 17 – VBA texts

Figure 18 – Substring in VBA functions

Making Substitutions




We use the Replace function to make substitutions within a string of characters.

Sub ReplaceExamples()

text = "John Magnus Smith"

MsgBox Replace("John? Magnus? Smith", "?", ";")

End Sub

Figure 19 – Excel As String in VBA

Figure 20 – Substrings in VBA




We can equally make substitutions and specify the number of substitutions we want using the Replace Count.

Sub ReplaceCount()

text = "John Magnus Smith Sophie Emma"

MsgBox Replace("John? Magnus? Smith", "?", ";" , Count: =3)

End Sub

Figure 21 – VBA string functions

Figure 22 – Replaced Text in VBA string

Making Comparisons

We can use VBA string functions to make a wide range of comparisons. We will make comparisons using StrComp and operators.


Comparing Two Strings using StrComp


Syntax: StrComp()  String1, String2, Compare[Optional]

When we use the StrComp function, our results may yield the following:

Return Value               Description

          0                                 Strings match

          1                                 String1 greater than String2

         -1                                String1 less than string2

Null if either string is null

Sub UsingStrComp()

text = "John Magnus Smith Sophie Emma"

MsgBox StrComp("John”, “James”, vbTextCompare)

End Sub

Figure 23 – VBA Strings

Figure 24 – Results


Compare String using Operators


We can either use the equals sign (=) or <> to compare strings.

          1. With the equals sign, we may have a true or false result.

Sub CompareUsingEquals()

text = "John =James"

MsgBox  ("John” = “James”)

End Sub

Figure 25 – Substrings in VBA

Figure 26 – VBA Text Result

          2. Alternatively, we can use the <> (does not equal). Our results will be True or False as expressed earlier.

Sub CompareWithNotEqual()

text = "John  < > James"

MsgBox  ("John” < > “James”)

End Sub

Figure 27 – VBA text

Figure 28 – Substrings in VBA

Removing Blanks with VBA String functions

We use the LTrim, RTrim and Trim VBA functions to remove spaces from the start or end of our string.




We use the LTrim removes spaces beginning from the left of our string

Sub LTrimStr()

Dim text As String

text = "John Magnus Smith  "

MsgBox LTrim(“John Magnus Smith  “)

End Sub

Figure 30 – Removing blanks in VBA strings

Figure 31 – Results.




RTrim removes spaces beginning from the right of the string

Sub RTrimStr()

Dim text As String

text = "   John Magnus Smith  "

MsgBox LTrim(“   John Magnus Smith  “)

End Sub

Excel 32 – Using VBA text as String

Excel 33 – VBA Strings




Trim removes spaces from the left and right of a string.

Sub TrimStr()

Dim text As String

text = "  John Smith  "

MsgBox Trim("  John Smith ")

End Sub

Figure 34 – VBA Strings

Figure 35 – Results


We do not use VBA String functions to change the original string. They will simply return with a new string alongside the changes we made in the function. If we want to change the original string, we simply transform the result to the original string.

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