CODE Formula


Excel CODE formula is a simple, yet immensely useful tool in the data analysis arsenal. It falls under the category of advanced Excel functions for data analysis. Essentially, the CODE function in Excel returns the ASCII value of the first character in a text string.


The main purpose of the CODE function in Excel is to deliver the ASCII value of the first character of the provided text string. This function is especially handy when you need to perform operations based on ASCII values or when you are creating formulas in Excel that require these values.


The syntax of the Excel CODE function is quite straightforward:

Here, ‘text’ represents the text string whose first character’s ASCII value you want to find.


The CODE function has only one parameter:

  • Text: This parameter is required and denotes the text string. If the ‘text’ parameter is empty, the function will return an error.


As for what this function returns, CODE gives you the ASCII value of the first character in the text string. ASCII values range from 0 to 255. Therefore, the CODE function will return a numeric value within this range.

Usage notes

The Excel CODE function is case-sensitive. It distinguishes between uppercase and lowercase letters because they have different ASCII values. For example, the ASCII value for “A” is 65, and for “a,” it is 97.


The CODE function is available in all modern versions of Excel, including Excel 2013, Excel 2016, Excel 2019, and Excel for Office 365.

Example #1

Let’s kick off with our first example to illustrate how the CODE function works:


This formula returns 65, the ASCII value for the uppercase letter “A.”

Example #2

Let’s look at another practical instance:


This function will return 97, the ASCII value for the lowercase letter “a.”

Example #3

What if we try a numerical string?


This will yield 49, the ASCII value for “1,” which is the first character in the text string.

Example #4

Here’s an example that highlights how CODE handles symbols:


This function will return 64, the ASCII value for the symbol “@”.

Example #5

For the final example, let’s use a string with multiple characters:


This function will return 69, the ASCII value for “E,” the first character in the string “Excel.”

Tips and tricks

You can use the CODE function along with other Excel functions for data analysis, including CHAR, MID, LEFT, and RIGHT to create more complex formulas. You can also use the CODE function as an Excel calculator to perform arithmetic operations on ASCII values.


The CODE function only considers the first character of a string. If you need to analyze each character of a string, you’ll need to apply the function in combination with others.

Common errors and solutions

One common error with the CODE function occurs when you input an empty text string. The CODE function will return an error in this case. The solution is to ensure the ‘text’ parameter always has at least one character.

Best Practices

When using the CODE function, it’s good practice to confirm the text parameter is not empty to avoid errors. Furthermore, if you need to work with extended ASCII or Unicode characters, consider using the UNICODE function instead of CODE.

List of Related functions

Many other Excel functions relate to CODE, including:

  • CHAR: Returns the character specified by the ASCII value.
  • UPPER: Converts text to uppercase.
  • LOWER: Converts text to lowercase.
  • MID, LEFT, RIGHT: Extracts part of a text string.

Frequently Used with the formulas

The CODE function is frequently used with functions like MID, LEFT, and RIGHT to create formulas in Excel for analyzing or manipulating text strings based on ASCII values.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is the difference between the CODE formula and the UNICODE formula?

The CODE function returns the ASCII value of the first character of a text string, while the UNICODE function returns the Unicode value of the first character.

Q. Can the CODE formula handle non-ASCII characters?

No, the CODE function only deals with ASCII characters. If you want to handle non-ASCII characters, you may need to use the UNICODE function.

Q. How to use CODE formula for a string of characters?

The CODE function only handles the first character of a text string. If you want to handle multiple characters, you will need to use other functions like MID, LEFT, or RIGHT in combination with CODE.

By following this tutorial, you’ll have the power to harness the CODE function as an excel calculator and open up a world of possibilities for data analysis in Excel. It is indeed one of the best Excel functions to learn and master. Happy analyzing!

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