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: Removing All Formatting.

Removing All Formatting

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated June 16, 2018)

If you want to remove all the formatting from a cell, there are any number of techniques you can use. One way is to use the Format Painter. If there is an "unformatted" cell close to the one from which you want the formatting removed, just select the unformatted cell and click on the Format Painter tool. Then click on the cell you want to be unformatted, and that should do the trick.

Another method is to select the cell or cells and select Clear from the Edit menu. You'll see a submenu from which you can select Formats.

You can also remove formatting by using the built-in styles in Excel. Select the cells then press Alt+' (the apostrophe) to display the Style dialog box. In the Style Name drop-down list, select Normal, then click on OK. The formatting of the cell is returned to whatever is defined as "normal" for your worksheet.

If you prefer to use a single tool to remove formatting, you can customize Excel by adding a special tool to the Quick Access toolbar. Follow these steps:

  1. Choose Customize from the Tools menu. This displays the Customize dialog box.
  2. Make sure the Toolbars tab is selected.
  3. In the list of toolbars, make sure the toolbars you want to edit are selected.
  4. Click on the Commands tab. (See Figure 1.)
  5. Figure 1. The Commands tab of the Customize dialog box.

  6. In the list of Categories, select Edit.
  7. In the list of Commands, select Clear Formatting.
  8. Use the mouse to drag the command from the Commands list to its new location on the toolbar. When you release the mouse button, the Clear Formatting icon appears.
  9. Click on Close to dismiss the Customize dialog box.

With the new tool in place, you can remove formatting by selecting the cells you want to affect and then clicking the tool.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2794) 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: Removing All Formatting.

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

Saving in Multiple Locations

Need to save a workbook in more than one location? Here's a handy macro that can save your workbook in lots of different ...

Discover More

Disabling Track Changes Completely

Have you ever had problems with a document because you accidentally pressed a keyboard shortcut? The good news is that ...

Discover More

Cleaning Text

You can use the CLEAN worksheet function to remove any non-printable characters from a cell. This can come in handy when ...

Discover More

Professional Development Guidance! Four world-class developers offer start-to-finish guidance for building powerful, robust, and secure applications with Excel. The authors show how to consistently make the right design decisions and make the most of Excel's powerful features. Check out Professional Excel Development today!

More ExcelTips (menu)

Preventing Changes to Formatting and Page Size

When you create workbooks for others to use, you might want to make sure that they can't change the formatting and paper ...

Discover More

Handling Leading Zeros in CSV Files

When dealing with files containing comma-separated values, you want to make sure that what gets imported into Excel ...

Discover More

Changing the Font Size in Combo Boxes

When you add a combo box to a worksheet, Excel makes some assumptions about the best font size to use in the control. ...

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

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. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. 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 seven minus 4?

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.