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

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated October 24, 2020)

3

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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Controlling Footnote Placement

Footnotes are normally placed at the bottom of the page on which the footnote is referenced. However, Word provides some ...

Discover More

Unwanted Data Changes

The AutoCorrect feature in Excel can change some of your data in ways you don't like. If you discover this is happening, ...

Discover More

Specifying Location for a Message Box

When writing macros, you may want to position a message box at a specific location on the screen. This can't be done in ...

Discover More

Comprehensive VBA Guide Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) is the language used for writing macros in all Office programs. This complete guide shows both professionals and novices how to master VBA in order to customize the entire Office suite for their needs. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2010 today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Referencing the Last Cell in a Column

When developing formulas, you may need to reference the very last value in a particular column. This can seem perplexing, ...

Discover More

Copying a Cell without Formatting

When you are copying a cell from one place to another (perhaps even to a different worksheet), you may not want to copy ...

Discover More

Ignoring Special Characters when Double-Clicking

If a word contains a special character within it, Excel actually thinks the single word is two words. This tip examines ...

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 five more than 5?

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.


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.