# Trim text to n words

=LEFT(txt,FIND("#",SUBSTITUTE(txt," ","#",n))-1)

To trim text to a certain number of words, you can use a formula based on the SUBSTITUTE, FIND, and LEFT functions. In the example shown, the formula in xxx is:

=LEFT(B5,FIND("#",SUBSTITUTE(B5," ","#",C5))-1)

We need a way to split text at a certain marker that corresponds to a certain number of words. Excel doesn't have a built-in function to parse text by word, so are using the SUBSTITUTE function's "instance" argument to replace an "nth space" character with the pound sign (#), then using FIND and LEFT to discard all text after the marker.

Working from the inside out, SUBSTITUTE is configured to replace the nth occurence of a space character, where n comes from column C, the text comes from column B, and "#" is hardcoded.

=SUBSTITUTE(B5," ","#",C5) =SUBSTITUTE("The cat sat on the mat."," ","#",3) ="The cat sat#on the mat."

The resulting string is returned to the FIND function, configured to look for "#".

=FIND("#","The cat sat#on the mat.)

Since the "#" is the 12th character in the text, FIND returns 12. We don't want to include the space character itself in, so we subtract 1:

LEFT returns the final result from the formula, "The cat sat".

*Note: the pound character ("#") is arbitrary and can be replaced with any character that won't appear in the text.*

### Add elipses or other character

To add "..." to the end of the trimmed text, use concatenation like this:

=LEFT(B5,FIND("#",SUBSTITUTE(B5," ","#",C5))-1)&"..."

You can replace "..." with anything you like.

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