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: Getting Rid of Spaces in Cells.
by Allen Wyatt
(last updated July 22, 2017)
Carole imports information into Excel from a different program, and this often leaves extra spaces in some cells. The spaces are the only things in the cells, so they appear to be empty but really aren't. Carole wondered about the best way to get rid of these unnecessary spaces.
There are a couple of approaches you can use. The first is to use the Find and Replace capabilities of Excel. Follow these steps:
Another option is to use the Trim worksheet function. This approach is handy if the cells you want to modify are all in a particular area of the worksheet, such as a single column. For instance, if you want to get rid of the spaces from the cells in column D, you could use the following formula:
The Trim function returns the contents of cell D1 without any leading or trailing spaces. You could then copy the results of this formula and use Paste Special to paste the values back into whatever cells you desire.
Of course, if you have lots of worksheets you need to process, or if you routinely get workbooks that contain the extra spaces in cells, a better way would be to create a macro that could get rid of the spaces. Perhaps the fastest way would be to examine all the cells in the worksheet and get rid of any extra spaces:
Sub CleanSheet1() For Each cell In ActiveSheet.UsedRange cell.Value = Trim(cell) Next cell End Sub
The macro steps through each cell and uses the Trim function to get rid of any leading or trailing spaces. This works on all the cells, but it may produce undesired results, depending on the characteristics of your data. If you have cells that have leading spaces—and you want those spaces—then you'll need to use a different macro. This version will give more satisfactory results:
Sub CleanSheet2() Dim rCell As Range Dim rText As Range Set rText = Cells.SpecialCells( _ xlCellTypeConstants, _ xlTextValues) For Each rCell In rText If Trim(rCell.Value) = "" Then rCell.ClearContents End If Next Set rText = Nothing Set rCell = Nothing End Sub
It only checks those cells containing constants (which includes all text in the worksheet) and then checks to see if using the Trim function would result in an empty cell. If so, then the cell is cleared. If the Trim function wouldn't result in an empty cell, then no change is made to the cell.
ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (12471) 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: Getting Rid of Spaces in Cells.
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