0014 Excel Shortcuts: How to Clear Cell Contents

Have you ever needed to clear PART of a cell, but not all of it? If so, this video is for you!

It will save you minutes, hours, or days, depending on how complex your spreadsheet is :).

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Full Video Transcript:

I don’t know if you know this, but Excel can actually hold a lot of different types of information, sometimes all within a single cell.

And I’m not just talking about numbers or text. There are things like comments and hyperlinks and other data that’s actually there behind the scenes that may not be visible.

So, what happens when you want to clear away some of it, but not all of it? Well, today I’m going to teach you the shortcut on how to clear cell contents.

Instead of being sloppy about deleting information, there’s actually a way to be very precise and efficient about what specific information you want to get rid of, especially when your spreadsheets start getting more complex.

So, here are a number of different ways to clear contents. The first one is Delete. If you actually hit the DEL key, it will remove all of the contents without touching anything else. I’m going to bring that back with a little undo action.

The other ones are all based on the ALT key as the starting point. So, ALT + H for Home, E for the Clear, and then we have a whole bunch of options.

And the memory tricks for all of these is going to be, “Hey, everyone, clear all,” or, “Hey, everyone, clear formats,” “Hey, everyone, clear messages.” All right? The messages part is referring to the comments. Or, “Hey, everyone, remove hyperlinks.”

So it’s all related to that first letter, but you have to get to it with the ALT + H + E something. So, for a clear all, ALT + H + E + A and it will remove not just that content itself, but all the data along with it. Same idea for formats, for comments, for hyperlinks. We’re going to go through each one.

A couple things to note, the DEL key itself is what you want to use when you have multiple cells selected to clear the contents. Instead of the Backspace, which will only give you this annoying first cell removed, but then the blinking cursor, not what you want. So, people usually make that mistake. Don’t make that mistake, just hit the DEL key instead of the Backspace.

For the Mac, there is the other way of doing this, which is to use the fn + Delete on the keyboard. And for the rest of these, these are all customized, so go ahead and go to the description of this video, click on the link for how to customize your Mac keyboard shortcuts, and go through all those steps to do it in detail.

Something that I cannot stress enough is the importance of selecting the cells first, and then making the change, right? “Select, then effect.” So, don’t just start deleting things, select the cell or cells that you want, and then use the shortcut to have it take effect.

Here are a few exercises I created specifically designed to help you practice and reinforce all the different shortcuts. So, go ahead and make the left section here match exactly as it appears on the right using the keyboard shortcuts that we talked about.

So, in this one, we’re going to use the DEL key, we’re going to have…go ahead and select all of it and clear it out and continue to go through until it’s all matching the same way.

And notice that each one uses its own, go through each of these, and at the end, there is a challenge to use a combination of all the different ways to make it look exactly the same.

Don’t forget to visit excelshir.com where you can download these exercises, along with other free resources such as keyboard shortcut cheat sheets for both PC and Mac.

Thanks for watching, see you next time. And remember, dream big, live your truth, and share the Excel love. I do.

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