There is no built in method to return the Left N characters of a string, but we can use .SubString().

To return the leftmost 5 characters, we start at character 0 and count 5 characters:

$variable = "Hello world"
$result = $variable.SubString(0,5)

However this assumes the string will always be at least 5 characters long to start with. To make this more robust the number of characters can be restrained to be no more than the initial length of the string using [math]::min()

To return the leftmost 50 characters:

$variable = "Hello world"
$variable.SubString(0,[math]::min(50,$variable.length) )

If the string is shorter than 50 characters, the above will display all the available characters rather than throw an error.

For quick re-use this can be placed into a function:

Function left {
   Param (
      [Parameter(Position=0, Mandatory=$True,HelpMessage="Enter a string of text")]
$left = $text.SubString(0, [math]::min($Length,$text.length))

PS C:\> Left "hello world" -length 5

“When I did my self-portrait, I left all the pimples out because you always should. Pimples are a temporary condition and they don’t have anything to do with what you really look like. Always omit the blemishes – they’re not part of the good picture you want” ~ Andy Warhol

Related PowerShell Cmdlets:

Right - Use $var.SubString($var.length - 5, 5) to return the last 5 characters of $var.
Methods - ToUpper(), PadRight(), Split(), Substring(), Replace() etc.

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