Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Excel 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Excel, click here: Cleaning Text.

Cleaning Text

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated February 13, 2016)

Excel includes an interesting worksheet function whose duty it is to make sure that your text is "clean." By this, Excel means that your text contains only printable characters. Thus, the function removes certain non-printable characters and control codes from your text. The syntax is rather simple, as follows:

=CLEAN(text)

All you need to do is include the text, or a reference to a cell that contains text. In doing some testing, it appears that the function removes anything with an ANSI value of 1 through 31, as well as the values 129, 141, 143, 144, and 157.

So why would you use the CLEAN function? If you import information from some mainframe or on-line services, the non-printable codes could be interspersed in the information you receive. This can cause problems printing or viewing the information correctly. CLEAN can help rectify those problems.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2454) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Excel (Excel 2007 and later) here: Cleaning Text.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Printing to a Disk File

When printing a worksheet, there may be times when you want to send the printer output to a disk file instead of to the ...

Discover More

Aligning Paragraphs in a Macro

Using a macro to format your document (or portions of your document) is not all that uncommon. If you want your macro to ...

Discover More

Jumping to a Specific Cell Using a Hyperlink

Excel allows you to define hyperlinks in your worksheets, and these can target specific cells on other worksheets. Here are ...

Discover More

Save Time and Supercharge Excel! Automate virtually any routine task and save yourself hours, days, maybe even weeks. Then, learn how to make Excel do things you thought were simply impossible! Mastering advanced Excel macros has never been easier. Check out Excel 2010 VBA and Macros today!

MORE EXCELTIPS (MENU)

Using the REPT Function

Excel includes a handy function that allows you to repeat characters or strings of characters. How you use the REPT function ...

Discover More

Returning the Left-most Characters

When working with text in a formula, you may need to extract the left-most characters from a string of text or from a cell. ...

Discover More

Making PROPER Skip Certain Words

The PROPER worksheet function is used to change the case of text so that only the first letter of each word is uppercase. ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments for this tip:

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 7 + 8?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the menu interface (Excel 97, Excel 2000, Excel 2002, or Excel 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.

Links and Sharing