Format Painter

This button can be found on the Standard toolbar and can be used to quickly copy the formatting from one part of a worksheet to another.

microsoft excel docsFormat Painter - This button copies formats from the selected cells, so they can be copied to other parts of the worksheet or workbook.

Just select the cells you want to copy and press the Format Painter button.
Select the cells or drag the painter over the cells you want to apply the formatting to.
It is possible to apply the formatting to non adjacent cells by double clicking on the Format Painter button.
Double click on the paint brush (located on the Formatting toolbar) to copy a format to a selection of non-contiguous cells. Single click it afterwards to cancel.
Select the cells you want to copy the formatting from. Select the Format Painter button. The mouse pointer will change to a small paintbrush icon. Select the cells you want to copy the formatting to.
If you copy formats from a range of cells and then select a single cell before pasting , the Format Painter will paste the format from the entire range, with the selected cell being the top left cell.
If you select a range of cells before pasting, the Format Painter will paste the format into the highlighted area, repeating or truncating the format where necessary.

The cursor will change to a ??
When you release the left mouse button, the cells that you selected will display the new formats
1) Move the mouse and select the cells displaying the format you want to copy.
2) Select the format painter button
3) Select the cells you want to copy the format to
4) When you have finished press ESC

Formatting Numbers

Although this is usually used more for formatting it can also be used to copy number formats.

It is very important to remember that formatting a cell does not change its value.
Numbers are stored with 15 digit Precision in Excel.
The number of digits that is displayed will depend on the format and the width of the cell.


If you want to copy a set of formats to a large number of different cell it may be quicker to create a style. For more details about styles please refer to the Styles page.

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