**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: Finding the First Non-Digit in a Text Value.

Tony has a bunch of data in a worksheet that consists of digits and other characters. For instance, he might have a cell that contains "1234567Blue." Tony wants to be able to figure out the character position at which the first non-digit character occurs. In the example of the text "1234567Blue" Tony wants some way to figure out that the first non-digit character is at position 8.

There are two primary ways to get the value you want. The first is to use an array formula to calculate the position. The following array formula (entered by using **Ctrl+Shift+Enter**) will work in the majority of cases:

=MATCH(TRUE,ISERROR(VALUE(MID(A1,ROW(INDIRECT("1:"&LEN(A1))),1))),0)

The only instances where this array formula won't work is if cell A1 is either empty or contains a strictly numeric value. If your list may contain this type of data (or no data at all), then you should consider using a slightly longer array formula:

=IF(LEN(A1)=0,0,MIN(IF(1*ISNUMBER(1*MID(A1,ROW(INDIRECT("A1:A"& LEN(A1))),1))=0,ROW(INDIRECT("A1:A"&LEN(A1))),LEN(A1)+1)))* (ISNUMBER(A1)=FALSE)

Remember that that is a single array formula, entered by using **Ctrl+Shift+Enter**. It will properly handle instances where A1 contains no non-digit characters (as in a blank cell or a value such as "123").

Of course, the other way you can handle finding out the position of the first non-digit character is to create a user-defined function. There are many different ways that such a macro can be implemented. One of the easiest ways to implement the macro is to simply step through each character in whatever is passed to the macro. When a character is found that is outside the ASCII code range for digits (48 to 57), then you know you've found the first position. The following macro shows a way to do this type of technique:

Function FirstNonDigit(str As String) Dim iChar As Integer Dim iPos As Integer Dim J As Integer Application.Volatile iPos = 0 For J = 1 To Len(str) iChar = Asc(Mid(str, J, 1)) If iChar <= 47 Or iChar >= 58 Then iPos = J Exit For End If Next J FirstNonDigit = iPos End Function

To use the function, simply use a formula such as this in your worksheet:

=FirstNonDigit(A1)

If the cell you reference is empty or if it only contains digits, then the function returns a 0 value.

*ExcelTips* is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training.
This tip (3364) 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: **Finding the First Non-Digit in a Text Value**.

**Excel Smarts for Beginners!** Featuring the friendly and trusted *For Dummies* style, this popular guide shows beginners how to get up and running with Excel while also helping more experienced users get comfortable with the newest features. Check out *Excel 2013 For Dummies* today!

Two rather common trigonometric functions are secants and cosecants. Excel doesn't provide functions to calculate these, but ...

Discover MoreNeed to figure out if a value is outside of some arbitrary limit related to a different value? There are a number of ways you ...

Discover MoreWhen you store the date and time in a single cell, it can be a bit confusing to count how many cells contain a particular ...

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

2016-12-05 10:20:34

Rick Rothstein

Darn, one asterisk too many. Here is my corrected function...

Function FirstNonDigit(S As String)

Application.Volatile

FirstNonDigit = -Len(CStr(Val(S))) * (S Like "*[!0-9.]*") - (S Like "#*")

End Function

2016-12-05 10:17:22

Rick Rothstein

Actually, my function does not return the correct value for either integers or floating point numbers. I am not sure why, but I constructed my function to return the position of the last digit for the leading number, not the position of the first non-digit. Here is my corrected function to do that (still a one-liner... if we ignore the Application.Volatile that is)...

Function FirstNonDigit(S As String)

Application.Volatile

FirstNonDigit = -Len(CStr(Val(S))) * (S Like "*[!0-9.]*") - (S Like "*#*")

End Function

2016-12-04 13:39:04

Willy Vanhaelen

Your UDF is a nice one liner again but only yields a correct answer when the entry starts with a floating point number. For example 123P99 returns 3 instead of 4.

But counting a period as a digit may not necessarily be wanted. Such entrees are by definition always strings and I suppose will mostly refer to part codes and when they include a period, it can as well be the goal to detect that as the first non digit.

2016-11-27 00:27:28

Rick Rothstein

Function FirstNonDigit(S As String) As Long

Application.Volatile

FirstNonDigit = -Len(CStr(Val(S))) * (S Like "*[!0-9.]*")

End Function

I would also note that my function appears to work properly with floating point numbers as well as whole numbers... your function reports the location of the decimal point for floating point values.

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.

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

Copyright © 2017 Sharon Parq Associates, Inc.

## Comments