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 February 12, 2016)

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. ...

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