LEFT and RIGHT default to 1 character

The LEFT formula takes two arguments: the thing you're taking the left-hand side of, and the number of characters you want to take. So the following formula takes the first five characters of cell A1.

=LEFT(A1,5)

But if you only need one character, there's no need for a second argument. So the following formula will take the first character of cell A1.

=LEFT(A1)

The lack of a second argument means that Excel defaults to taking a single character. And the same is true of the RIGHT function.

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