How to Delete Highlighted Text in Excel: A Step-by-Step Guide

Deleting highlighted text in Excel is straightforward: simply select the text you wish to remove and press the ‘Delete’ key on your keyboard. Another way is to right-click on the highlighted text and select ‘Clear Contents’ from the context menu. The text will be removed instantly, leaving you with a clean cell ready for new data.

After completing the action, the highlighted text will be gone, and the cell will be empty. The formatting of the cell, such as the background color or borders, will remain unchanged. If you need to enter new data, you can simply click on the cell and start typing.


Excel is one of the most widely used spreadsheet programs in the world. It’s a powerful tool for organizing, analyzing, and presenting data. But let’s be real–sometimes, we make mistakes or need to update information. That’s where knowing how to delete highlighted text becomes important. Whether you’re a student, a professional, or just someone who likes to keep their grocery list in a spreadsheet, you’ll likely need to remove text from cells at some point.

This seemingly simple task can be confusing for new users or those who don’t spend much time in Excel. Plus, it’s not just about deleting text; it’s about doing it efficiently without messing up your data or wasting time. That’s why I’m here to guide you through the process, ensuring that you can confidently and quickly remove any unwanted text from your Excel spreadsheets.

Step by Step Tutorial: How to Delete Highlighted Text in Excel

Before we dive into the steps, it’s key to understand what we’re aiming to achieve. We want to remove the text that is highlighted or selected in an Excel cell without altering any other content or format in your sheet. Let’s get started!

Step 1: Select the Highlighted Text

Click on the cell with the highlighted text you want to delete.

Selecting the text is the first step to ensure you’re only deleting what you intend to. If the whole cell is highlighted, that means any content within it is set for deletion. If you’ve only highlighted a portion of the text, only that part will be removed when you hit delete.

Step 2: Press the ‘Delete’ Key or Clear Contents

Press the ‘Delete’ key on your keyboard or right-click and choose ‘Clear Contents’.

Hitting the ‘Delete’ key is the quickest way to clear the text. However, if you prefer using the mouse, the ‘Clear Contents’ option is just as effective. Remember, this doesn’t delete the cell itself or its formatting, just the text inside it.


Simple and QuickDeleting highlighted text in Excel is an uncomplicated process that takes mere seconds to accomplish.
Non-destructiveThis method ensures that you only remove the text and not the cell’s formatting or other attributes.
Multiple MethodsWhether you prefer keyboard shortcuts or using the mouse, Excel provides multiple ways to delete text, catering to different user preferences.


Accidental DeletionIt’s easy to mistakenly delete important text if you’re not careful about what’s highlighted.
Doesn’t Remove FormattingIf you’re looking to remove all content, including formatting, this method won’t accomplish that.
No Undo for ‘Clear All’If you use the ‘Clear All’ option by mistake, it can’t be undone, and you might lose all data and formatting in the cell.

Additional Information

When working with Excel, it’s not just about getting the job done; it’s about doing it efficiently. That’s why knowing some additional tips can be helpful. For instance, if you want to delete the text in multiple cells at once, just select all the cells you want to clear and press ‘Delete’. Plus, if you’re a fan of shortcuts, ‘Ctrl’ + ‘-‘ (minus key) does the trick too.

Another handy tip is using the ‘Clear Formats’ option. This is useful when you want to keep the text but remove any formatting, like bold or color fills. Just right-click and select ‘Clear Formats’. And for the perfectionists out there who want to start entirely from scratch, ‘Clear All’ removes every trace of content and formatting, leaving you with a blank slate.


  1. Select the Highlighted Text
  2. Press the ‘Delete’ Key or Choose ‘Clear Contents’

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I delete text from multiple cells at once?

Yes, by selecting all the cells you wish to clear and pressing ‘Delete’, you can remove text from multiple cells simultaneously.

What if I only want to remove formatting, not the text?

Right-click on the cell and select ‘Clear Formats’. This will remove all formatting but leave your text intact.

Is there a shortcut to delete highlighted text in Excel?

Yes, besides the ‘Delete’ key, you can use ‘Ctrl’ + ‘-‘ (minus key) to delete text quickly.

Can I undo the deletion if I make a mistake?

If you’ve simply pressed ‘Delete’, you can use ‘Ctrl’ + ‘Z’ to undo. However, if you used ‘Clear All’, it cannot be undone.

How do I ensure I don’t delete important text by accident?

Always double-check which cells are selected before pressing ‘Delete’. Take your time and make sure you’re only removing what you intend to.


In the realm of Excel, knowing how to delete highlighted text is a fundamental skill. The process is quick, straightforward, and offers different methods depending on your preference. Yet, as with any powerful tool, caution is paramount to avoid erasing valuable information inadvertently.

Whether you’re a novice Excel user or a seasoned data analyst, mastering this basic function can significantly enhance your productivity and efficiency when managing spreadsheets. So, the next time you find yourself staring at text that no longer serves a purpose in your Excel sheet, remember that with a few simple clicks or keystrokes, you can clear the way for fresh data to take its place.

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