Isolating and recombining functions
There are a couple different situations that might cause you to want to find out a portion of the information in a cell. In some places, a portion of a car license number could indicate the location of the owner's residence. Again, if you have a number such as a telephone number, with an area code, an exchange number, and a final identification number and you had a table with telephone numbers, names and addresses, you might want to see how many of your customers are from the same area code- which can indicate where the phone is located. In that case, you would pull out the section of the number, in the same place in every line, which is the area code.
To isolate the section of the number you are interested in, you will use the LEFT, RIGHT or MID functions. Bright Hub has an article with an explanation of the syntax to use in in the LEFT, MID and RIGHT section functions. Successful results from this function depend on the string being the same length in each cell.
The reverse of this, CONCATENATE, involves combining information from more than one cell together into another cell. This function is often used when there is a column for a first name and another column for the last name, and a full name is desired.