# How to Get a File Name from Path with an Excel Formula?

Are you looking for an **Excel formula to extract the file name from a full path**? In this article, we’ll show you exactly how to do that using a simple formula. Getting the **file name from a path in Excel** is a common task when working with file directories, and with the right formula, it’s quick and easy to accomplish.

Whether you’re **analyzing log files**, **managing file inventories**, or **consolidating data from multiple sources**, being able to efficiently extract file names from full paths can save you a lot of time and effort. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the process step-by-step.

## What is a File Path?

Before we dive into the formula, let’s briefly discuss what a file path is. A **file path** is the location of a file or folder on your computer or network. It includes the drive letter, directories, subdirectories, and the file name itself. Here’s an example of a typical file path:

C:\Users\YourName\Documents\ExcelFiles\SalesData.xlsx

In this path:

- C: is the drive letter
- Users, YourName, Documents, and ExcelFiles are the directories
- SalesData.xlsx is the
**file name**(including the extension)

Understanding file paths is crucial when working with files across different locations on your computer or network. They provide a standardized way to specify the location of a file, regardless of the operating system or file system in use.

## The Excel Formula to Get File Name from Path

Now, let’s look at the **Excel formula** that will allow you to **extract just the file name** from a full path like the one above. The formula uses a combination of the RIGHT, LEFT and FIND functions. Here it is:

=RIGHT(A2,LEN(A2)-FIND(“*“,SUBSTITUTE(A2,”\”,”*“,LEN(A2)-LEN(SUBSTITUTE(A2,”\”,””)))))

Looks complicated, right? Let’s break it down step-by-step:

- SUBSTITUTE(A2,”\”,””) – This part removes all the “\” characters from the path.
- LEN(A2)-LEN(SUBSTITUTE(A2,”\”,””)) – This calculates the number of “\” characters in the path.
- SUBSTITUTE(A2,”\”,”
*“,LEN(A2)-LEN(SUBSTITUTE(A2,”\”,””))) – This replaces the last “\” in the path with a “*” character. - FIND(“
*“,…) – This finds the position of the “*” character. - LEN(A2)-FIND(“*”,…) – This calculates the number of characters after the last “\”, which is the length of the file name.
- RIGHT(A2,LEN(A2)-FIND(“*”,…)) – This extracts the file name, which are the characters after the last “\”.

Here’s what the formula would return for our example path:

SalesData.xlsx

While this formula might seem daunting at first glance, it’s actually a clever combination of standard Excel functions. Let’s take a closer look at each component:

**RIGHT**is used to extract a specified number of characters from the right side of a string.**LEN**returns the length of a string.**FIND**locates a character or substring within a string and returns its position.**SUBSTITUTE**replaces existing text with new text in a string.

By nesting these functions together, we can manipulate the file path string to isolate the file name at the end. The formula first counts the number of directory separators (“\”) in the path, then replaces the last one with a unique character (“*”). It then finds the position of this character and extracts all the text to the right of it, which is the file name.

## Using the Formula

To use this formula in Excel:

- Type or paste your full file paths into a column in your spreadsheet. Let’s say they’re in column A.
- In the cell where you want the file name to appear (let’s say B2), type the formula:

=RIGHT(A2,LEN(A2)-FIND(“*“,SUBSTITUTE(A2,”\”,”*“,LEN(A2)-LEN(SUBSTITUTE(A2,”\”,””))))) - Press Enter, and the file name will appear.
- Drag the formula down to apply it to the rest of your file paths.

Here’s what your spreadsheet might look like:

Full Path | File Name |
---|---|

C:\Users\YourName\Documents\ExcelFiles\SalesData.xlsx | SalesData.xlsx |

D:\ProjectX\Data\January.csv | January.csv |

\Server\Share\Reports\2023\Q1.xlsx | Q1.xlsx |

Once you have the formula set up, it’s easy to apply it to a large number of file paths quickly. Simply copy the formula down to the corresponding cells in column B, and Excel will extract the file name for each path in column A.

This technique is particularly useful when you have a long list of files to process. Instead of manually typing out each file name, you can let Excel do the heavy lifting for you. This not only saves time but also reduces the risk of errors from manual data entry.

## Handling Different Path Formats

File paths can vary depending on your operating system and whether the file is on your local machine or a network. The formula we’ve provided works with most typical path formats, including:

- Local Windows paths (e.g., C:\Folder\File.txt)
- Network paths (e.g., \Server\Share\File.txt)
- Unix/Mac paths (e.g., /Users/YourName/Documents/File.txt)

However, if your paths have unusual characters or formats, you may need to adjust the formula.

For instance, if your paths use forward slashes (“/”) instead of backslashes (“\”), you would need to modify the SUBSTITUTE parts of the formula to look for “/” instead of “\”.

Similarly, if your paths include additional characters, like spaces or parentheses, you may need to account for these in your formula. Excel provides a wide range of string manipulation functions, like REPLACE, TRIM, and MID, which can help you handle these situations.

## Extracting the File Name Without the Extension

If you want to **extract the file name without the extension**, you can use a slightly modified version of our formula:

=LEFT(RIGHT(A2,LEN(A2)-FIND(“*“,SUBSTITUTE(A2,”\”,”*“,LEN(A2)-LEN(SUBSTITUTE(A2,”\”,””))))),FIND(“.”,RIGHT(A2,LEN(A2)-FIND(“*“,SUBSTITUTE(A2,”\”,”*“,LEN(A2)-LEN(SUBSTITUTE(A2,”\”,””))))))-1)

This formula first extracts the file name with the extension (just like our original formula), and then it uses the LEFT and FIND functions to remove the extension.

For our example file path, this formula would return:

SalesData

This variation of the formula can be handy when you’re working with file names that have inconsistent extensions. By removing the extension, you can standardize your data and make it easier to work with.

It’s worth noting that this formula assumes the file name includes a period (“.”) before the extension. If some of your files don’t have extensions, or use an unconventional naming scheme, you may need to further adjust the formula.

## Alternative Methods to Get a File Name from Path

While the formula we’ve provided is a robust way to extract file names from paths, there are other methods you can use in Excel:

### Text to Columns

Excel’s Text to Columns feature can split a path into separate parts based on a delimiter (like the “\” character). Here’s how:

- Select the cells with your file paths.
- Go to Data > Text to Columns.
- In the wizard, choose Delimited and click Next.
- Check Other and enter “\” as the delimiter.
- Click Finish.

This will split each path into its component parts, with the file name in the last column.

Text to Columns is a straightforward method that doesn’t require any formulas. It’s particularly useful if you want to separate the other parts of the path as well, like the drive letter or individual folders.

However, it does require a few more steps than using a formula, and it modifies your original data. If you want to keep your full paths intact, you might prefer to use a formula in a separate column.

### Power Query

If you have a newer version of Excel, you can use Power Query to extract file names:

- Select your file paths and go to Data > From Table/Range.
- In the Power Query Editor, select the column with your paths.
- Go to Add Column > Extract > Text After Delimiter.
- Enter “\” as the delimiter and click OK.
- The file names will appear in a new column.

Power Query is a powerful tool for data transformation and manipulation. It’s particularly handy when you’re working with large datasets or complex transformations.

For simple file name extraction, Power Query might be overkill. But if you’re already using Power Query for other data processing tasks, it can be a convenient way to handle file paths as well.

## Tips for Working with File Paths in Excel

Here are a few additional tips to keep in mind when working with file paths in Excel:

**Be consistent with path formats**: Try to ensure that all your file paths use the same format (e.g., all Windows paths or all Unix paths). This makes it easier to apply formulas or transformations consistently.**Watch out for special characters**: File paths can sometimes include spaces, parentheses, or other special characters. These can trip up formulas if not handled properly. Use Excel’s string functions, like SUBSTITUTE or REPLACE, to remove or escape these characters if necessary.**Use relative paths when possible**: If your files are located in subfolders relative to your Excel workbook, consider using relative paths instead of absolute paths. This makes your workbook more portable and less likely to break if files are moved.**Validate your results**: After extracting file names, spot check a few results to ensure your formula is working as expected. Pay special attention to any unusual file names or path formats that might cause issues.**Consider using macros for complex tasks**: If you need to perform more complex manipulations on file paths, like extracting multiple parts or handling inconsistent formats, consider using VBA macros. Macros allow you to write custom code to handle more advanced scenarios.

## Final Thoughts

Extracting **file names from paths in Excel** is a breeze with the right formula. The combination of RIGHT, LEFT, FIND, and SUBSTITUTE functions allows you to get the file name regardless of the path’s length or structure.

Whether you’re working with local files, network shares, or Unix paths, this formula has you covered. And if you need the file name without the extension, a small tweak to the formula does the trick.

While there are other methods, like Text to Columns and Power Query, the formula approach is quick, flexible, and doesn’t require any extra steps.

## FAQs

### What is the formula to extract a file name from a path in Excel?

The formula to extract a file name from a path in Excel is:

=RIGHT(A2,LEN(A2)-FIND("*",SUBSTITUTE(A2,"\","*",LEN(A2)-LEN(SUBSTITUTE(A2,"\","")))))

Where A2 is the cell containing the full file path.

### How do I use the formula to get the file name from a path in Excel?

- Type or paste your full file paths into a column in your spreadsheet (e.g., column A).
- In the cell where you want the file name to appear (e.g., B2), type the formula.
- Press Enter, and the file name will appear.
- Drag the formula down to apply it to the rest of your file paths.

### Does the formula work with different path formats?

Yes, the formula works with most typical path formats, including:

- Local Windows paths (e.g., C:\Folder\File.txt)
- Network paths (e.g., \\Server\Share\File.txt)
- Unix/Mac paths (e.g., /Users/YourName/Documents/File.txt)

However, if your paths have unusual characters or formats, you may need to adjust the formula.

### Can I extract the file name without the extension using this formula?

Yes, you can use a slightly modified version of the formula to extract the file name without the extension:

=LEFT(RIGHT(A2,LEN(A2)-FIND("*",SUBSTITUTE(A2,"\","*",LEN(A2)-LEN(SUBSTITUTE(A2,"\",""))))),FIND(".",RIGHT(A2,LEN(A2)-FIND("*",SUBSTITUTE(A2,"\","*",LEN(A2)-LEN(SUBSTITUTE(A2,"\",""))))))-1)

### Are there any alternative methods to extract file names from paths in Excel?

Yes, there are a couple of alternative methods:

**Text to Columns:**This Excel feature can split a path into separate parts based on a delimiter (like the “\” character).**Power Query:**If you have a newer version of Excel, you can use Power Query to extract file names by splitting the path at each “\” delimiter.

Vaishvi Desai is the founder of Excelsamurai and a passionate Excel enthusiast with years of experience in data analysis and spreadsheet management. With a mission to help others harness the power of Excel, Vaishvi shares her expertise through concise, easy-to-follow tutorials on shortcuts, formulas, Pivot Tables, and VBA.