Extracting last names | last word from a multi-word string


The question of how to extract the last name from a combined “first [middle][…] last [suffix]” name string – or the last word from a multi-word string – comes up from time to time. I offer a solution (with caveats) in a reply to a recent support post. My example is name-oriented but could easily be adapted to an arbitrary string. Hope this will save someone some time!

Is there a PROPER name formula in Airtable?

I’ve created a second version of this base that addresses a few edge cases. Note that these require manual ‘hinting’ be performed when the name is entered; they cannot be automated (well, at least not without an absurd amount of work).

  • Support for compound given names or surnames with “^” standing in for the embedded space (Mary^Lou Retton, Gabriel Garcia^Marquez).

  • Support for familiar name (e.g., nickname, diminutive, alternative forename) with “#[FamiliarName]” appended to {WholeName} (C. S. Lewis#Jack, F. Scott Fitzgerald#Scott).

As the son of a ‘Mary Lou’ who goes by his middle name, you can see why this is of particular interest to me. :slight_smile:

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