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How to use the LEN function in Microsoft Excel

Let's look at some Excel Len function examples and explore how to use the Len function as a worksheet function in Microsoft Excel:

LEN function


LEN function can be useful if we wish to get the length of a given text string as the number of characters. LEN function will also count characters in numbers,special character, spaces, but number formatting is not included.
The Len function is a built-in function in Excel that is categorized as a Text Function.


Get the length of given text string.

Return value

A numeric value.

What Does It Do ?

This function counts the number of characters, including spaces and numbers, in a piece of text.


Len function has one syntax and hence they can be written in Two different ways:

=LEN(text) or
=LEN(cell reference)

Parameters or Arguments

Text: It is the text for which to calculate the length.
Cell reference: Reference to cells containing text.


No special formatting is needed.

Usage notes

  • LEN is a useful when you want to count how many characters there are in some text.
  • LEN Function in Excel can be used to count the number of character in a text string and able to count letters, numbers, dates, special characters, non-printable characters, and all spaces from an excel cell.
  • LEN Function counts the characters in the value of a cell and not concerned with formatting. (i.e. the length of "88" formatted as "$88.00" is still 2).
  • Excel ignores cell formatting and uses raw data. It is of no use to use the LEN function on a date because Excel will always return a value of 5. Because Excel always stores a date as a 5-digit serial number.
  • If the cell is empty then Length function return 0 as output.
  • If letters are entered directly into the LEN function, they must be wrapped in double quotes or Excel will display the #NAME? error. Excel does not count the quotation marks.
  • If numbers are entered directly into the LEN function, they do not need to be wrapped in double quotes: both =LEN(12345) and =LEN("12345") are proper and produce a value of 5.

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