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How to Clear Formatting in Google Sheets (Step-by-Step)

To clear formatting in Google Sheets, use the dropdown menu or a keyboard shortcut. I’ll show both methods in this guide.

How to clear formatting in Google Sheets with the Format menu.

Clear Formatting in Google Sheets

When working with data in Google Sheets, you will often find yourself formatting the data to look better and be more readable.

Simple formatting things such as giving the cells a border, adding/removing gridlines, changing the font style and size, giving a cell color, etc. can greatly enhance the readability of your dataset and make it look much more professional.

But in some cases, you may want to clear the formatting in Google Sheets altogether.

This could be the case when you get the data from a database or from a website and you want to clear all the formatting and start afresh.

Sometimes, copying data from a website also brings a lot of formatting when pasted in the cells in Google Sheets. In such a case, it’s needed to remove all the formatting from the cells. (Or remove content from cells entirely).

Below, I will show you a simple way to clear formatting in Google Sheets.

Clear Formatting with the Format Menu

Below are the steps to clear formatting from the cells in Google Sheets. I’ve included screenshots to show where to find everything.

  1. Launch Google Sheets
  2. Select all the cells from which you want to remove the formatting
  3. Click the Format option in the menuClick the Format option in the menu
  4. Click on ‘Clear formatting’ optionClick on Clear formatting

That’s it!

The above steps would instantly clear all the formatting in the selected cells.

Clear Formatting with a Keyboard Shortcut

You can also use the following keyboard shortcut to clear formatting in Google Sheets:

CONTROL + \ (hold the Control key and then press the backward-slash key)

In case you want to remove the formatting from the entire sheets, you can select all the cells and then use the above steps.

Note that the above steps would remove all the formatting and you will be left with only the data in the cell.

A few things to know when clearing formatting in Google Sheets:

  • The above steps would also remove the conditional formatting that is applied to the selected cells
  • It would also remove any hyperlinks that you have in the cells
  • In case you clear the formatting by mistake and want to get it back, you can use Control + Z to undo it

Note that you can use either of these methods to remove formatting in an entire column. You can also remove formatting in an entire row. Just click the row or column header to select the data, then use the menu or keyboard shortcut.

How-To Video

Here’s a short how-to video I made about removing formatting in Google Sheets. It shows where to find the format menu and how to use the keyboard shortcut.

Copy Paste the Data but Not the Formatting

In many cases, you may want to copy the data from some other sheet or even web into the Google Sheets, but without copying the formatting.

All you need is the data (and not the formatting).

In this scenario, you can choose to first copy the data and then remove the formatting later (using the steps covered in the previous section).

Or you can choose to only copy and paste the value and not the formatting (which is less work and saves time).

Using the Format Menu to Paste without Formatting

Below are the steps to copy the data and only paste the values and not the formatting:

  1. Copy the data that you want to paste in Google Sheets
  2. Right-click on the cell where you want to paste the data
  3. In the menu that opens, hover the cursor on the Paste Special option
  4. Click on Paste Values only option

Paste Values Only

Using a Keyboard Shortcut to Paste without Formatting

The above steps would only copy and paste the value and not the formatting. So this will save time and you don’t have to clear the formatting from the pasted data. In fact, it’s one of my most commonly-used keyboard shortcuts in any piece of software.

The keyboard shortcut to paste data without including any formatting is:


The keyboard shortcut Control + Shift + V pastes a value only. It automatically removes formatting during the process.

Formatting Q&A

Here are some of the most common questions I hear about formatting in Google Sheets. If you have any other questions, please let me know in the comments!

How do I make everything the same font size in my sheet?

You can remove formatting from everything using the methods I mentioned above, or you can copy and paste specific formatting across your data. Just select the cell with formatting you like, click the paint roller button, and drag it across the data you want reformatted.

Here’s what that looks like.

Seelct the data and use a paint roller to clear formatting in Google Sheets.

Note that the format painter doesn’t take much of an edit. Just click and drag to match your font color, bolding, and other formatting choices across a range of cells.

Do I need to use an app script to remove formatting in Google Sheets?

No, you can use the Format > Clear Formatting menu to automatically remove formatting.

Alternatively, you can apply formatting across a wide range with the “paste format” button on your toolbar. That matches your formatted text or numbers, so everything looks similar.

Here’s what the “paint format” button looks like.

Where to find the Paint Format button in Google Sheets

Can I remove italics from cells in my spreadsheet?

Yes, you can remove any kind of formatting in Google Sheets. To remove italics, go to the Format menu and select “clear formatting”. Or use the keyboard shortcut. In my personal experience, it’s the easiest way to make all your data look the same.

How do I protect my cell content when I remove formatting?

The methods I mentioned earlier all protect the data in your cells while removing formatting in Google Sheets. Whether you remove formatting across the entire spreadsheet or just a single cell, your data stays the same. It’s the formatting that gets removed.

Can I use this same process in Excel?

The keyboard shortcut to remove formatting works everywhere. You can use it to remove formatting in Excel when you paste from another sheet.

Excel doesn’t have the same menu structure as Google Sheets, so you’ll need to go to Home tab and choose the Editing Group. There, you’ll see an option to “Clear Formatting”.

Will removing formatting affect my drop down menu?

No, using either method above will not remove your dropdown menu in Google Sheets.


So these are the ways you can cleat formatting in Google Sheets (by either removing it from the cells or avoiding it when pasting data in the first place).

I hope you found this tutorial useful!

Other Google Sheets tutorials you may find useful:


  1. Microsoft Support. Clear cells of contents or formats [Internet]. Microsoft; [cited 2024 Jan 18]. Available from:
  2. Google Docs Editors Help. How to remove excess formatting in Sheets [Internet]. Google; [cited 2024 Jan 18]. Available from:

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