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Shortcut Key for Format Painter

Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007 and 2010. If you are using an earlier version (Excel 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Excel, click here: Shortcut Key for Format Painter.

Fred loves to use the Format Painter, but doesn't like to use the mouse to use the tool. He would find it much easier to use if there were a shortcut key instead. Unfortunately, Excel doesn't provide a single shortcut key you can use for the Format Painter. You can, however, use the following steps if you are using Excel 2007:

  1. Select the cell from which the format is to be copied.
  2. Press Ctrl+C. This copies the cell to the Clipboard.
  3. Select the cells to receive the format.
  4. Press Shift+F10, S, T, Enter. This sequence displays the Paste Special dialog box and chooses to paste only the format.

If you are using Excel 2010 then you should follow these steps:

  1. Select the cell from which the format is to be copied.
  2. Press Ctrl+C. This copies the cell to the Clipboard.
  3. Select the cells to receive the format.
  4. Press Shift+F10, S, R. This sequence displays the Context menu and selects the options to paste just formatting.

If you prefer a real shortcut key (only a single key press), then you will need to develop your own macro to paste only the format. The following is an example of such a macro.

Sub PasteSpecialFormats()
    If Application.CutCopyMode = False Then
        MsgBox "No formatting in Clipboard"
        Selection.PasteSpecial Paste:=xlFormats
    End If
End Sub

To use the macro, follow steps 1 through 3 as previously outlined, and then run the macro. Since the macro can be assigned to a shortcut key, you end up with an easier shortcut than what has already been discussed.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (9181) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007 and 2010. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Shortcut Key for Format Painter.

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Comments for this tip:

krmayani    20 Dec 2014, 02:28
i did edit macro for format painter and assigned shortcut key of "Ctrl+e". It worked. but the problem is after applying this shortcut, if i want to undo this action the undo doesnt works in saved *.xlsm or *.xls.
Please tell me what is the problem.
Udhaykumar     21 Apr 2014, 01:48
It was very nice...I learnt Format Painter short cut...
Pramod    08 Dec 2013, 01:12
Alt-H-F-P works in 2010 too
chuck trese    15 Jul 2013, 12:19
There is a very straight-forward keyboard "shortcut" for format painter. (for Excel 2007, at least)


Alt for keyboard shortcuts
H for Home tab of the ribbon
FP for Format Painter
Shreepad S M Gandhi    11 Jul 2013, 02:21
Got that. When the Alt key is pressed, the corresponding codes for various items on QAT are seen.
Thanks again.
Shreepad S M Gandhi    11 Jul 2013, 02:18
Dear Marjolijn,
Thanks for your inputs. How do you use the QAT items whose position is beyond 9? If I try Alt+12 what gets activated is Alt+1. How do I access the 12th item?
Dave    10 Jul 2013, 15:24
I get a Compile error, Method or data member not found with .CutCopyMode highlighted. I am using Excel 2010
Preeti    10 Jul 2013, 02:38
This is tip is useful for me. I do formatting on daily basis on large database.Thanks a lot.
billy    09 Jul 2013, 09:07
Alt HFP in XL2007
Joe Marten    09 Jul 2013, 08:04
Two other shortcut key combinations that work are:
One nice thing about using the Alt key is you can press it and then release it and press the other keys in order. That is a little easier than holding the Shift key down as you press F10.
Debendu    13 Aug 2012, 08:27
How can we use format painter with out using mouse (with the help of keyboard)
sam    09 Aug 2012, 01:58

you are a genius!

The best approach I've seen so far to this dreaded shortcut failing on excel's behalf.
Laura Holloway    21 Jun 2012, 16:15
Do you recommend any courses for formatting tips? Do you teach any excel web courses?
Niket    19 Jun 2012, 14:53
Thanks a lot guys.......
Marjolijn    24 Nov 2011, 07:53
You can also assign "format painter" to the quick access toolbar. Then you can use ALT + a number (varies on the position of the program in de QAT) as a shortcut!

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