Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. 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: Specifying Proper Case.

Specifying Proper Case

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated December 19, 2015)


If you receive information from others as an odd assortment of upper- and lowercase characters, you may want to put the PROPER worksheet function to work for you. This function converts text so that the first letters of any words are uppercase and everything else is lowercase. Actually, what it does is make everything lowercase except any letters that do not follow another letter. Thus, any letters following spaces, punctuation, or numbers would be converted to uppercase.

As an example, if cell D4 contains "THIS IS MY TEXT", you could use the following formula in cell E4:


The result is that cell E4 will contain "This Is My Text".

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (12046) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Specifying Proper Case.

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 six more than 8?

2016-01-13 10:09:15


If, instead you would like a "normal" sentence structure, you need to do a little more work so only the first word in capitalized. Two approaches work, capitalize the first character and make the rest lower case or use PROPER in combination with finding the first space in the text.
=LEFT(PROPER(D4),FIND(" ",D4,1))&(MID(LOWER(D4),FIND(" ",D4,1)+1,9999))

2015-12-22 05:51:37

Rod Grealish


There are two functions, in addition to PROPER, for changing the case of a text string. They are UPPER and LOWER which change text to uppercase and lowercase respectively.

Enter the example text "This Is My Text" into cell A1

Keying =UPPER(A1) into cell B1 displays "THIS IS MY TEXT" in cell B1

Keying =LOWER(A1) into cell C1 displays "this is my text" in cell C1.

If you want to replace the original content of A1 by the converted value, copy the converted text (from B1 or C1)
and paste it into cell A1 using Paste Values (on Home tab, click Paste and then one of the three Paste Value options)

2015-12-21 14:24:51

Rob McGhie

What if I wanted the opposite... force all characters entered to be displayed as UPPER CASE?

2015-12-19 13:48:23


I have found Proper to be quite useful, but not in all cases. "If" statements seem to be subject to case in many instances but not all. When calling workbooks via VBA, I have found using the open statement with ALL caps for the filename seldom fails. (This can be done without modifying the original mixe-case reference.

2015-12-19 12:52:56


If you're moving address' and you use "proper" how do you tell excel to recognize States or Provinces, thank you

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