I would like to find out how to properly format a conditional expression in labeling, so as to only get specific characters back out of a field that has 9 characters in it, but don't wish to label them on the map in full.

Sadly, I am not the best in scripting languages, I know a bit SQL but I see labeling or does VBscript, Jscript, or Python.

I've thus far been able to drop the first two characters, but I am not familiar how to get to the part where I keep certain characters and skip others.

Example data--- [FACILITYID] WF2820001, WF3540034, etc...

What I have so far built in VBscript is as follows

Function FindLabel ( [FACILITYID] )
  FindLabel = mid ([FACILITYID],3,50)
End Function

This is at least dropping off the WF that doesn't need labeled. I wish to then have two characters remain, insert a '-' symbol, keep one character, drop the zeros and replace with a tilda ~ symbol and keep the last one or two numbers if their anything higher than 01.

Example data would have this input [FACILITYID] WF2820001, WF3540034 and would then come back with 28-2~1, 35-4~34.

2 Answers 2


Switch to Python parser, click Advanced and enter the following code

def FindLabel ( [FACILITYID] ):
    exValue = [FACILITYID]
    first = exValue[2:4]
    second = exValue[4:5]
    third = int(exValue[5:])

    newLabel = "{0}-{1}~{2}".format(first, second, third)
    return newLabel

This removes the first two characters, keeps the second two, adds a -, keeps the next one, adds a ~, keeps the remaining digits (stripping off the leading zeros by converting to integer)

The [2:4] etc. is known as "Slicing" - in this case it takes the third character in the string (remember that in Python you count from 0) and stops at the fifth character (excluded).

Python character positions:

exValue = 'WF3540034'

so the `[2:4] gives the 3 and 5, but nothing from the 4 onwards.

exValue [2:4] returns two digits, in positions 2 and 3 -> 35
exValue [4:5] returns a single digit, in position 4 -> 4
exValue [5:] returns everything from position 5 onwards -> 0034
int(exValue [5:]) converts the 0034 to an integer (number) so no leading zeros -> 34

For more information, have a look at An Informal Introduction to Python - Strings

  • This is fantastic! It works like a charm. I'll be honest I only understand/can see how part of it works. I really need to learn Python.
    – twweepie
    Jun 13, 2016 at 18:45
  • I'm walking at the moment, doing this on my phone - I'll update with more explanation soon
    – Midavalo
    Jun 13, 2016 at 18:49
  • 1
    @twweepie I've added a bit of an explanation which hopefully makes it a bit more understandable
    – Midavalo
    Jun 13, 2016 at 19:56
  • Thank you very much for that write up and explanation. It looks complicated at first but when you break it down, it starts making a lot of sense on what its doing.
    – twweepie
    Jun 14, 2016 at 11:54

Pretty elegant answer here led me to work up this python sample code which you can tweak to your advantage. It converts the field value to a list and then you can modify the list values as needed.


def FindLabel ( [MH_No] ):
 l = list([MH_No])
 l[4] = '~'
 return "".join(l)



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