Extracting First And Last Names 


A frequent task many people encounter when working with lists of data in Excel is splitting full names into the first-name and last name components. For example, a user may have full names like "Pearson, Charles H" in column A, and needs to put the last name in column B, the first name in column C, and the middle initial in column D.   This page describes some worksheet formulas and VBA procedures you can use to accomplish this.  For a related procedure for working with telephone numbers, see Parsing Telephone Numbers

All of the functions and procedures on this page assume that your data is formatted as "LastName, FirstName MiddleName".  For example, "Pearson, Charles H".  Suffixes like "Jr" are permitted in the LastName, as are two word last names (e.g., St James) and hyphenated last names (e.g., Smith-Cross).  For example, all the the following names are valid.  

Pearson, Charles
Pearson, Charles H
Pearson, Charles Henry
Pearson Jr, Charles 
St James, Michael
St James Jr, Michael
Smith-Cross, Linda K


Worksheet Functions 

This section describes several worksheet functions you can use to split full names into the first and last name components.  

To return the last name of the full name in A2, use the following formula. 


To return the first name of the full name in A2, use the following formula. 

IF(ISERROR(FIND(" ",A2,FIND(",",A2,1)+2)),LEN(A2),
FIND(" ",A2,FIND(",",A2,1)+2))-FIND(",",A2,1))))

To return the middle name of the full name in A2, use the following formula. 

FIND(" ",A2,FIND(",",A2,1)+2))),LEN(A2),
FIND(" ",A2,FIND(" ",A2,FIND(",",A2,1)+2))-1)))

The results of these formulas are shown below: 





VBA Procedures

This section describes a VBA function you can use the split full names into the the first and last name components.   This procedure accepts a full name, as described above, and returns an array for four elements -- the Last Name, the First Name, the Middle Initial, and the Suffix.  Therefore, you will need to enter this as an Array Formula.  Suppose you want the four parts of the name in A2 to be returned to B2:E2.  First, select cells B2:E2, enter =ParseOutNames(A2) and press Ctrl+Shift+Enter rather than just Enter.

The code recognizes the following suffixes:     

and any suffix beginning with a number (e.g., "4th"). 

The code will also convert all names to Proper Case.  

Function ParseOutNames(FullName As String) As Variant

Dim FirstName As String
Dim LastName As String
Dim MidInitial As String
Dim Suffix As String
Dim Pos As Integer
Dim Pos2 As Integer
Dim Pos3 As Integer

Pos = InStr(1, FullName, ",", vbTextCompare)
If Pos = 0 Then
    Pos = Len(FullName) + 1
End If
LastName = Trim(Left(FullName, Pos - 1))

Pos2 = InStr(1, LastName, " ", vbTextCompare)
If Pos2 Then
    Pos3 = InStr(Pos2 + 1, LastName, " ", vbTextCompare)
    If Pos3 Then
        Suffix = Right(LastName, Len(LastName) - Pos3)
        LastName = Left(LastName, Pos3 - 1)
        Suffix = Right(LastName, Len(LastName) - Pos2)
        LastName = Left(LastName, Pos2 - 1)
    End If
End If

Pos2 = InStr(Pos + 2, FullName, " ", vbTextCompare)
If Pos2 = 0 Then
    Pos2 = Len(FullName)
End If

If Pos2 > Pos Then
    FirstName = Mid(FullName, Pos + 1, Pos2 - Pos)
    MidInitial = Right(FullName, Len(FullName) - Pos2)
End If

Pos = InStr(1, LastName, "-", vbTextCompare)
If Pos Then
    LastName = Trim(StrConv(Left(LastName, Pos), vbProperCase)) & _
    Trim(StrConv(Right(LastName, Len(LastName) - Pos), vbProperCase))
    LastName = Trim(StrConv(LastName, vbProperCase))
End If

FirstName = Trim(StrConv(FirstName, vbProperCase))
MidInitial = Trim(StrConv(MidInitial, vbProperCase))
Suffix = Trim(StrConv(Suffix, vbProperCase))
' suffix handling
Select Case UCase(Suffix)
    Case "JR", "SR", "II", "III", "IV", "MD", "PHD", "PH.D", "M.D."

    Case Else
        If Not IsNumeric(Left(Suffix, 1)) Then
            LastName = LastName & " " & Suffix
            Suffix = ""
        End If
End Select

ParseOutNames = Array(LastName, FirstName, MidInitial, Suffix)

End Function

The result of this formula are shown below: 




For a related procedure for working with telephone numbers, see Parsing Telephone Numbers