How to split full names into first and last names

Some Excel magic that you'll use again and again

Updated on November 4, 2019

Often when you're building prospecting lists with full names, titles, emails, and more, you'll find that you need to break full names into first and last names. This is very easy to do in Excel or any spreadsheet software.

The formula to do it is this. For the first name, use:

=MID(A1, 1, FIND(" ", A1)-1)

And for the last name, use:

=MID(A1, FIND(" ", A1)+1, 99)

We can break these two formulas down in a similar way as our explanation of how to extract the website from an email address.

Again, the MID function takes a string, a position in that string, and a number of characters after that position. We use the FIND function to identify the space in between the first and last name. None that FIND will always return the first instance of the character. So, the last name formula won't work if there's a middle name or initial. The first name will be detected properly because the first space will always be after the first name, but if we were trying to parse, for example, "Donald J. Trump," then our last name formula would return "J. Trump" because it takes everything after the first space only.

But most people using sales prospecting lists don't use the middle names in their templates, so you should be okay. In fact, usually when you're sending cold email templates, you won't use the last name either. It's still handy to have for saving into your CRM.

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