Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Excel in Microsoft 365, and 2021. 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: Removing All Formatting.

Removing All Formatting

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated August 27, 2022)
This tip applies to Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Excel in Microsoft 365, and 2021


If you want to remove all the formatting from a cell, there are a 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, display the Home tab of the ribbon, click Clear in the Editing group. Excel displays a submenu from which you can select Formats.

You can also remove formatting by using the built-in styles in Excel. Select the cells and display the Home tab of the ribbon. In the Styles group click Normal. 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. Display the Excel Options dialog box. (In Excel 2007 click the Office button and then click Excel Options. In Excel 2010 and later versions, display the File tab of the ribbon and then click Options.)
  2. At the left side of the dialog box click Customize (Excel 2007) or Quick Access Toolbar (Excel 2010 or later versions). (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Quick Access Toolbar area of the Excel Options dialog box.

  4. Use the Choose Commands From drop-down list to choose All Commands.
  5. In the list of commands, choose Clear Formats.
  6. Click the Add button. The command is copied to the right side of the screen.
  7. Click OK.

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 (6753) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Excel in Microsoft 365, and 2021. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel 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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