How to Use the T Function in Microsoft Excel: A Beginner’s Guide

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Written By Chris

Just a simple "data guy". Changing the world one formula at a time.

The T function in Microsoft Excel is one of the valuable functions it offers that can be overlooked. 

Ultimately, the T function in Excel is designed to return text values from a given cell or formula, making it easy to filter out non-text contents. This can be particularly helpful when working with datasets that contain a mix of numeric and text values, ensuring that only the desired elements are extracted and utilized in your analysis.

Using the T function is quite simple. All you need to do is enter the formula =T(cell_reference) in a cell, where “cell_reference” is the cell address containing the value you want to extract. If the cell contains text, the function will return that text. If the cell contains a numeric or other non-text value, the function will return an empty string.

Key Takeaways

  • The T function in Excel returns text values from a given cell or formula, filtering out non-text contents.
  • To use the T function, enter =T(cell_reference) in a cell, where “cell_reference” is the address of the cell containing the value you want to extract.
  • The T function can be combined with other Excel functions for more comprehensive data analysis and filtering.

Understanding the T Function

The T function in Excel is a simple yet useful tool that can help you handle text values in your worksheets. In this section, we’ll briefly discuss what the T function does, which versions of Excel it is available in, and why you might want to use it.

The T function checks whether a value in a cell is text or not. This could come in handy when you’re working with a dataset that contains mixed data types, and you only want to extract or manipulate text values.

Keep in mind that the T function works in most versions of Excel, including Excel 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel for Microsoft 365. However, it’s essential to double-check if it’s available in your specific Excel version, especially if you’re using an older release or a non-Microsoft spreadsheet application.

As for its beneficial use, there are practical situations where the T function can provide value. For instance, you might receive a dataset with numerical and text values combined in the same column, and you need to separate the text values for further analysis. The T function can quickly help you identify and extract those text entries without manual intervention.

With that said, let’s see it put to use.

Examples of T Function in Action

The T function in Microsoft Excel is quite handy when you need to separate text from a cell that contains both text and numbers. Let’s dive into a few examples to show you how to use the T function effectively in your worksheets.

Suppose you have a worksheet containing supplier information with missing data and incorrect formats. And in your first steps to cleaning your data, you want to separate the text from non-text values. In this case, the T function comes to the rescue.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to achieve this:

  1. Open your Excel worksheet (here’s a sample for you) and locate the first cell in the green table (A11).
  2. Enter the following formula: =T(A2) and then press Enter. This will return the value in A11 only if A2 is text.
  3. To apply this formula to the other cells of your new table, simply click on the bottom-right corner of cell A11 and drag over and down to fill the corresponding cells with the extracted text.
using the T function for a new text table 1

Voila! You now have a new table that displays only the text values of your original data. The T function has helped you to focus on the information most relevant to your needs.

You can take it a step further and apply a value for those non-text fields.

We can replace those empty cells by combining the T function with the IF function. 

Go back to cell A11, and in your formula bar, click right after the equals to modify your formula from T(A2) to this:


After pressing Enter, this will display the value of your text field. But when you drag the formula over and down, all those empty cells will have the word “missing” in their place.

using the IF function with the T function 2

These examples demonstrate the versatility and usefulness of the T function in Microsoft Excel for handling and organizing text data in your worksheets. With this knowledge, you can easily manage text and numbers in your data sets to achieve better organization and analysis.

Combining T Function with Other Excel Functions

You may find the T function helpful when working with text data in Excel. Combining the T function with other Excel functions, as we did with the IF statement, can help streamline your data handling and optimize your workflow. Let’s explore some helpful combinations to enhance your Excel experience.

To clean up your text data, combine the T and TRIM functions. The TRIM function removes extra spaces from text. Utilize these two functions together to ensure you’re working with clean, properly formatted text data:


Another beneficial strategy is to apply a case-sensitive function for messy text data. You can choose upper case, lower case, or capitalize just the first character of each word.

If you choose the latter, simply add the PROPER function before your T formula, like so:


By dragging the formula across and down, you’ll get the following values returned.

using the proper and t functions together 3

With these combinations, you can unlock the full potential of the T function and enhance your productivity while working with text data in Excel. Remember to experiment with different functions to find the perfect combination for your data.


By mastering the T function, which won’t take long, you can save time and effort when carrying out your daily tasks.

Now that you understand the T function’s capabilities better, especially with the inclusion of other formulas, you are ready to easily tackle more complex projects. 

Remember, practice makes perfect. Don’t hesitate to explore other Excel functions and features to further refine your skills and boost your productivity.

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