Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Office 365. 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: Cleaning Text.

Cleaning Text

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated December 14, 2019)

2

Excel includes an interesting worksheet function whose duty it is to make sure that your text is "clean." By this, Excel means that your text contains only printable characters. Thus, the function removes certain non-printable characters and control codes from your text. The syntax is rather simple, as follows:

=CLEAN(text)

All you need to do is include the text, or a reference to a cell that contains text. In doing some testing, it appears that the function removes anything with an ANSI value of 1 through 31, as well as the values 129, 141, 143, 144, and 157.

So why would you use the CLEAN function? If you import information from some mainframe or on-line services, the non-printable codes could be interspersed in the information you receive. This can cause problems printing or viewing the information correctly. CLEAN can help rectify those problems.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (10350) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Office 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Cleaning Text.

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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Comments

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What is five more than 8?

2019-12-16 15:33:56

Roy

SPAM-much "Tom"?

Usually, people hook these messages at least a little to the Tip in question before going on a lot about the wonders of their SPAM item.


2019-12-14 13:00:47

Tom Cruckshank

I like to use a, free for private use, set of utilities called ASAP Utilities. These utilities will do so much! In the text section, you can select to remove leading, trailing or excessive spaces.

Recently I had some data that contained a raft of HTML tags scattered throughout the data. In the Web section, there is a command to remove these. Worked like a charm. Highly recommend that Excel users get these utilities.


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