If you need extract the first name from a full name in Last, First format, you can do so with a formula that uses RIGHT, LEN and FIND functions. In the generic form of the formula (above), name is a full name in this format:

LAST, FIRST

Jones, Sarah

Smith, Jim

Doe, Jane

A comma and space separate the last name from the first name.

In the example, the active cell contains this formula:

Here’s how the formula works:

At a high level, this formula uses RIGHT to extract characters from the right side of the name. To figure out the number of characters that need to be extracted to get the first name, the formula uses the FIND function to locate the position of “, ” in the name:

FIND(", ",B4) // position of comma

FIND returns the position of the comma and space as a number. This number is then subtracted from the total length of the name:

The result is the length of the first name, plus one extra character, due to the comma. To get the true length, 1 is subtracted:

Because the name is in reverse order (LAST, FIRST), the RIGHT function can simply extract the length of the first name.

For the example, the name is “Dominic, Johanson”, the position of the comma is 8. So the inner formula simplifies to this:

17 – 8 – 1 = 8 // length of first name

Then:

RIGHT("Dominic, Johanson",8) // "Johanson"

Note: this formula will only work with names in Last, First format, separated with a comma and space.