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In the attribute table I can use this expression

left(   "CODE" ,1)='E' or left( "CODE" ,1)='W'

to select features successfully, but when I try to use the same expression in the Properties, General, Query Builder window, to display a subset of features on the map it gives an error:

SQL Expression Parsing Error: syntax error, unexpected LEFT

Is there an alternative syntax I can use in the Properties dialog to achieve the same?

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    Found the answer - you use substr( "CODE" ,1,1)='E' and it works! – simonc8 Nov 16 '16 at 13:02

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