Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, and 2013. 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.
by Allen Wyatt
(last updated February 21, 2015)
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:
If you are using Excel 2010 and Excel 2013 then you should follow these steps:
You could also, if you prefer, use a sequence of shortcut keys to access ribbon commands. Press Alt, H, F, P. These should not be pressed all at once, but in sequence. The Alt key activates the keyboard shortcuts for ribbon commands, the H selects the Home tab of the ribbon, and the FP selects the Format Painter.
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 Beep MsgBox "No formatting in Clipboard" Else 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.
There is one thing to remember with all of these approaches: They only activate the Format Painter. In order to actually use the Format Painter to "paint" a format somewhere else, you need to immediately select the cell or range of cells to which you want the format applied. You won't be able to do this using the keyboard unless the cells you want to target are directly adjacent to the cell in which you activated the Format Painter. In all other instances you will need to rely on the mouse.
ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (9181) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Shortcut Key for Format Painter.
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!
Moving your custom formats into a formatting category other than "custom" isn't something you can do in Excel. Here's ...Discover More
Hate to take your hands off the keyboard? Here are a couple of ways you can reject the mouse and still adjust the height ...Discover More
Want to format your data tables in a hurry? It's easy to do if you use the built-in table formatter provided in Excel.Discover More
FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."
Got a version of Excel that uses the ribbon interface (Excel 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the menu interface.