How to Clear Formatting from an Excel Spreadsheet

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When working with a large excel worksheet, we can quickly remove formats from specific areas of our worksheet or the entire worksheet using a variety of ways. In this tutorial, we will explore the easy ways to clear formats from our worksheet.

Figure 1 – Clear formatting

How to use clear formatting

   1. If we want to remove all current formatting from a range of cells or the entire worksheet, we can follow these steps.

  • We will highlight the cells we want to format.

Figure 2 – How to clear formatting

  • In the Home tab, we will navigate to the Editing group and click the arrow next to the Clear button.
  • Next, we will select Clear Formats.

Figure 3 – How to use remove all formatting

  • This will erase the entire format from our cells (including conditional formatting, fonts, borders, number formats, etc.) but our cell values or contents will remain.

Figure 4 – Clear formatting  

   2. To clear an entire column or row, we will click on the column or row heading to select it. Now, we will go to the Home tab and select Clear format as explained earlier.

Figure 5 – How to remove all formatting

   3. If we want to clear formats in non-adjacent cells or ranges (cells not found together), we will select the first cell.

  • Next, we will press the Ctrl key and continue highlighting other cells

Figure 6 – How to clear formatting

  • Now, we will go to the Home Tab, navigate to the Editing group, click on the arrow next to the clear button and select Clear Format.

Figure 7 – Remove formatting from cells in different groups

Adding the Clear Formats option in the Quick Access Toolbar

If we often use the Clear Formats option, we can always make it accessible by adding it to the top of our ribbon in the Quick Access toolbar (where we have the undo, redo and save icons).

  • We will go to File and select Options

Figure 8 – Remove formatting

  • Next, we will select the Quick Access Toolbar

Figure 9 – Clear formatting

  • Under the Choose Commands, we will select All Commands and then scroll down to fill Clear Formats

Figure 10 – Remove all formatting

  • When we find it, we will select it and then we will click add to move it to the right-hand section

Figure 11 – Add clear format to Quick Access Toolbar

  • We will click OK.

Figure 12 – Adding clear formatting to Quick Access Toolbar

Removing formatting using Format Painter

  • We will select an unformatted cell close to the cell we want to remove formatting

Figure 13 – Remove formatting with Format Painter

  • We will go to the Home tab and select Format Painter from the Clipboard group

Figure 14 – Using format Painter to clear formats

  • We will select all cells we want to remove formatting.

Figure 15 – Using Format Painter to remove formatting


We can only use the clear formatting tool to clear every format in our cells. If we want to remove some formats and leave others intact, this will be impossible to carry out quickly. For example, we may want to remove the font, borders and fill while leaving the number or currency formats, we can only remove all formats and then format our cells from scratch.