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: Dragging to Clear Cells.

Dragging to Clear Cells

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated October 24, 2020)
This tip applies to Excel 2007, 2010, and 2013


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Want a really quick way to clear the cells in a range you've selected? If you've got a hold of the mouse, simply grab the fill handle (the small square at the bottom-right corner of the selection) and drag it back over the selection area. As you drag, the cells are grayed out, and when you release the mouse button the values in the cells are cleared.

If you also want to clear the formats in the cells, just hold down the Ctrl key as you drag the fill handle back over the selection.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (10737) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Dragging to Clear Cells.

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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What is 9 + 7?

2020-10-26 14:24:32

Tony G

Not working for me in Excel 365/Office 2016. Dragging with the Fill Handle does turn the cells grey but either nothing happens when I release the mouse, or it fills with whatever was in the starting cell. If I drag the Fill Handle from an adjacent empty cell I can clear them that way. Frankly, how is this any easier than using the selection drag tool and the Clear All button on the Home Tab, or on my Quick Access Toolbar which makes it more accessible?


2020-10-26 08:11:50

Mike D.

I just figured out what to do, when all the cells are selected click on the Merge&Center first, which un-merges the cells, them perform the drag and it work as stated.

AWESOME ! ! !


2020-10-26 07:31:00

Mike D.

I am clearing data all the time, I kept using the delete key which is simple enough, however the control key to delete the formatting is a game changer for me. I always kept doing it the old fashion way of reformatting with "No Fill, No Borders, etc. I've even deleted cells just to make it quicker but now I have a new way.

However I did discover one minor inconvenience, it seems to not work if there are any merged cells in the mix.
It will not clear any data with mixed cells, at least for me. Just something to note.

So simple yet so powerful, thank you Allen.


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