How to Clear Formatting in Excel: A Step-by-Step Guide

Let's face it, Excel can be tough to navigate at times. Have you ever been working on a spreadsheet and realized that the formatting is all wrong? It's frustrating when you spend hours on a project and find out that something as small as formatting can cause such a headache. Fortunately, clearing formatting in Excel is relatively easy, and today I'm going to show you how to do it, step-by-step.

Step 1: Select the Cells You Want to Clear Formatting From

The first step in clearing formatting in Excel is to select the cells you want to remove formatting from. You can select a single cell or a range of cells by clicking and dragging your cursor over the desired range. If you want to select an entire row or column, click on the row or column's header. If you want to select the entire worksheet, click on the 'Select All' button in the top left-hand corner of the worksheet.

Step 2: Click on the 'Clear Formats' Button

Next, you need to find the 'Clear Formats' button. It's located in the 'Editing' section of the 'Home' tab in the Excel ribbon. Once you've found it, simply click on the button, and all the formatting in the selected cells will be removed.

Step 3: Use the Keyboard Shortcut

Using a keyboard shortcut is always faster than clicking through a menu, and clearing formatting in Excel is no exception. To clear formatting in Excel using a keyboard shortcut, simply select the cells you want to remove formatting from, then press 'Ctrl' + 'Shift' + 'Z'. This keyboard shortcut works in all versions of Excel and is an efficient way to quickly clear formatting from your cells.

Step 4: Use the 'Clear All' Button

If you want to clear all formatting from a cell or range of cells, you can use the 'Clear All' button located on the 'Home' tab in the Excel ribbon, in the 'Editing' section. This button will clear all formatting, including any formulas or data in the selected cells, so be careful when using it. If you want to keep the data in the cell but remove the formatting, use the 'Clear Formats' option instead.

Step 5: Remove Specific Formatting

What if you only want to remove a specific type of formatting, such as bold text or colored backgrounds? Excel allows you to do this as well. To remove specific formatting, right-click on the cell or range of cells you want to remove formatting from and select 'Format Cells'. In the 'Format Cells' dialog box, click on the 'Font' tab to remove any formatting related to the font, or click on the 'Fill' tab to remove any formatting related to cell fills or backgrounds. You can also remove borders, number formatting, and more from this window.

Step 6: Save Your Changes

After you clear the formatting, be sure to save your changes by clicking on the 'Save' button or pressing 'Ctrl' + 'S'. It's always a good habit to save your work frequently, in case anything goes wrong in the future.


Clearing formatting in Excel is a simple process but can save you hours of headache in the long run. With these simple steps, you can quickly and efficiently remove any unwanted formatting, allowing you to focus on the data and formulas in your sheets. Remember to save your work, and happy formatting!

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