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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Getting Audible Feedback

You can add a bit of sound to your editing tasks by turning on Word's sound capabilities. This tip shows where this ...

Discover More

Detailed Measurements

Want to know exactly how far something on the ruler is from the left and right margins of your document? It's easy to ...

Discover More

Stopping a Checked Box from being Unchecked

When creating user forms for use in Excel, you are provided with a range of controls you can add, including check boxes. ...

Discover More

Excel Smarts for Beginners! Featuring the friendly and trusted For Dummies style, this popular guide shows beginners how to get up and running with Excel while also helping more experienced users get comfortable with the newest features. Check out Excel 2013 For Dummies today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Using the IF Worksheet Function

Programmers know that a staple of any language is the ability to create conditional statements. Excel understands this, ...

Discover More

Using a Week Number as One Criterion in a Formula

The SUMIFS function can be quite powerful in conditionally summing information based on criteria you specify. This tip ...

Discover More

Outstanding Macro Function Reference

Looking for a great reference that you can use to help figure out the various worksheet functions available in Excel? ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is nine minus 2?

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.


This Site

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.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.