Pinterest Pixel

Replicating Excel’s LEFT Function with M in Power Query

Power Query lets you perform a series of steps to transform your Excel data. There are times... read more

Download Excel Workbook
Bryan
Posted on

Overview

Power Query lets you perform a series of steps to transform your Excel data. There are times when we want to do things that are not built in the user interface. This is possible with Power Query’s programming language, which is M.

Unfortunately not all of Excel’s formulas can be used in M.

For example, if we want to use the LEFT Excel Function, it is not supported in M.

But I have found a way for us to replicate the LEFT Function in M!

DOWNLOAD EXCEL WORKBOOK

Watch our free training video on Replicating Excel’s LEFT Function with M in Power Query

Let’s go through the steps in detail:

STEP 1: Select your data and turn it into an Excel Table by pressing the shortcut Ctrl + T or by going to Insert > Table

Replicating Excel's LEFT Function with M in Power Query

 

STEP 2: Go to Data > Get & Transform > From Table (Excel 2016) or Power Query > Excel Data > From Table (Excel 2013 & 2010)

Excel 2016:

See also  61 Power BI Tricks You Need to Learn Now

 Merge Columns Using Power Query

Excel 2013 & 2010:

from table

 

STEP 3: This will open up the Power Query Editor.

Go to Add Column > Add Custom Column

We want to get the first 3 characters of the Sales Month:

Replicating Excel's LEFT Function with M in Power Query

 

STEP 4: Let us create a simple M expression to replicate the LEFT function in Excel.

In the New column name text box, type SALES MONTH (Shortened)

In the Custom column formula, type in: Text.Start(

From the Available columns choose SALES MONTH and Insert

Then finish off the formula by entering , 3) 

We now have build the following formula:

Text.Start([SALES MONTH], 3)

 

So lets quickly break down what we just did:

  • We are using the Text.Start formula to get the first X characters of the SALES MONTH column
  • We place in 3, to specify that we want the first 3 characters.

 

Click OK to confirm.

Replicating Excel's LEFT Function with M in Power Query

Now you will see your changes take place.

Replicating Excel's LEFT Function with M in Power Query

 

STEP 5: Click Close & Load from the Home tab and this will open up a brand new worksheet in your Excel workbook with the updated values.

See also  Transpose Using Power Query

Replicating Excel's LEFT Function with M in Power Query

Congratulations! You have used a M formula for replicating the LEFT function!

Replicating Excel's LEFT Function with M in Power Query

Further Learning:

728x90

If you like this Excel tip, please share itEmail this to someone

email

Pin on Pinterest

Pinterest

Share on Facebook

Facebook

Tweet about this on Twitter

Twitter

Share on LinkedIn

Linkedin

Get Video Training

Advance your Microsoft Excel & Office Skills with the MyExcelOnline Academy!

Dramatically Reduce Repetition, Stress, and Overtime!
Exponentially Increase Your Chances of a Promotion, Pay Raise or New Job!

Learn in as little as 5 minutes a day or on your schedule.

Learn More!