Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Excel 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Excel, click here: Determining the Length of a String.

Determining the Length of a String

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated September 25, 2015)

It is hard to imagine a function used more often with strings than the Len function. This simple little function returns the length of any string. The following are a few examples:

A = Len(MyString)
B = Len("This is a test")

The first line returns the length of the characters in the variable MyString. The second returns the number of characters between the quote marks (in this case, 14—remember that spaces count as characters).

If you want to determine the length of the information in a particular cell, you follow a bit different approach:

C = Len(ActiveSheet.Range(ActiveWindow.Selection.Address))

When this line is executed, it returns the length of whatever is in the currently selected cell.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2299) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Excel (Excel 2007 and later) here: Determining the Length of a String.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...


Problem Printing Quotation Marks

If you go to print a document and find out that your quotation marks aren't printing properly, there could be a number of ...

Discover More

Inserting a Copyright Mark

One of the most common symbols that can be added to a document is the copyright mark. This tip examines several ways you ...

Discover More

Specifying Date Formats in Headers

Don't like the default date format used by Excel when you place the date in a header or footer? You can use a macro to ...

Discover More

Comprehensive VBA Guide Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) is the language used for writing macros in all Office programs. This complete guide shows both professionals and novices how to master VBA in order to customize the entire Office suite for their needs. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2010 today!

More ExcelTips (menu)

Extracting Proper Words

If you've got a list of potential words, and you want to know which of those potential words are real, you'll appreciate ...

Discover More

Creating Charts in VBA

Most charts you create in Excel are based on information stored in a worksheet. You can also create charts based on ...

Discover More

Noting the Workbook Creation Date

You may want to add, to your worksheet, the date on which a particular workbook was created. Excel doesn't provide a way ...

Discover More

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.


If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is five more than 3?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)

This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the menu interface (Excel 97, Excel 2000, Excel 2002, or Excel 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.

Newest Tips

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.