I got a question regarding removing and/or creating a new field just with the 4 first characters of a field. Whenever I search for this I just find answers about how to remove a specific number of values from the front or the back, the problem here is that I have fields with a 4 digit number and then different names! like for example "2481 New York" and the next one "4521 Seattle" and I want a new field with only the first digits!

  • 1
    Something like : left(fieldname , 4) should do it...
    – J.R
    Nov 11, 2020 at 22:55

1 Answer 1


There are a few possible options to achieve the desired result.

You could use a substring function to extract the first 4 characters:


Another possibility is to use the following regex function which extracts numbers appearing at the beginning of a string:


The advantage of the last one is that it can handle cases with varying number lengths.

I recommend to test this in a new field first before potentially updating your actual field, to check that the result is as you intended.

  • Thank you!! Even though they worked both of them, another problem occured haha! Some of them begins with a "0" so if its 0114 New Jersey, it becomes 114 only! The others starting with a 1.2.3 etc worked like a charm
    – Isaiah
    Nov 11, 2020 at 23:32
  • @John Then make sure your new field is of type 'text', and not a number-related type.
    – FSimardGIS
    Nov 11, 2020 at 23:34
  • Thank you! that worked perfectly!
    – Isaiah
    Nov 12, 2020 at 1:19

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