Shortcut for Format Painter in Excel

Format Painter Excel Shortcut

Format Painter in ExcelFormat Painter In ExcelFormat painter in Excel is a tool used to copy the same format of a single cell or a group of cells to the other cells. You will find it on the home tab in the clipboard section.read more is used to copy the format of one or more cells and apply it to other cells. It can be used to copy format settings like:

  • Colour, face, and size of the font
  • Cell border
  • Colour of background cell
  • Number Format (like Date, General, Percentage, etc)
  • Alignment and orientation of the text in a cell (like Left, Right, Center)
  • Font modifiers (like Underline, Bold, Italic)

Format Painter is a button that is present in the ‘Clipboard’ Group on ‘Home’ tab as below:

format painter

Copying formatting with this button is quite tedious and inefficient in case we are working with large datasets. So formatting in Excel can be copied using a sequence of keyboard shortcuts as well. These shortcuts require to press a sequence of some keyboard keys, instead of clicking on the Format Painter button located in the Clipboard group.

Here we discuss the top 2 methods to use format painter in excel –

Shortcut Method #1 | Format Painter in Excel

If we have a table consisting of some students’ records of seven rows/seven students, and we wish to change the formatting (orientation, display, and alignment) of all the records as per the first record.  This is done via a Format painter. Let us see below how to format painter shortcut can be used to accomplish this task:

format painter example 1.1

We have the above table consisting of students’ records. In this, the number format of column ’D’ is ‘Percentage’ for the first cell and ‘General’ for the other. Also, the first cells in Columns: ‘B’, ‘C’ are right-aligned, and in Column: ‘E’ is left aligned. While the other cells are not aligned the same way. So, we do this using Format Painter. Let us see below how the shortcut works for format painter in excel:

  1. Select the cells or row containing the desired format or those from which we wish to copy the formatting and paste it to others.


    format painter example 1.2

  2. Then press Alt, H, F, P keys on the keyboard.


    format painter example 1.3

  3. On pressing these keys, those cells from where we wish to copy the format will get selected/highlighted as below:


    format painter example 1.4

  4. Now click the cells where we wish to paste the desired formatting.


    format painter example 1.6

  5. So, we see in the above screenshot that this copies the formatting to the target cells (rest of the records) as well.


    Note: On pressing the keys: Alt, H, F, P; each key should be pressed one after the other and not simultaneously.

    Alt Key: This will activate the keyboard shortcuts for the commands on the ribbon.

    H Key: This will select the ‘Home’ tab on the ribbon

    F, P keys: This will select the ‘Format Painter’

Shortcut Method #2 | Format Painter in Excel

Now, let’s say in the below example, we wish to do the same task using another shortcut for Format Painter, so below is the illustration with another keyboard excel shortcut/approach for format painter.

example 2.1

So, we see that we have the above table consisting of students’ records. In this, the number format of column ’D’ is ‘Percentage’ for the first cell and ‘General’ for the other. Also, the first cells in Columns: ‘B’, ‘C’ is right-aligned, and in Column: ‘E’ is left aligned. While the other cells are not aligned the same way. So, we do this using another shortcut key for Format Painter in excel. Let us see below how this shortcut works:

  • Select the cells or row containing the desired format or those from which we wish to copy the formatting and paste it to others.
example 2.2
  • Then press Ctrl+C to copy the format of the selected cells.
example 2.3
  • Now click on the cells where we wish to paste the desired formatting.
example 2.4
  • Then press Alt, E, S, T keys on the keyboard, and press Enter.
example 2.5

So, we see in the below screenshot that this copies the formatting to the target cells (rest of the records) as well.

example 2.6

Note: On pressing the keys: Alt, E, S, T; each key should be pressed one after the other and not simultaneously.

  • Alt +E +S Keys: Pressing this will activate the Paste Special Dialog Box H Key: This will select the ‘Home’ tab on the ribbon
  • T Key: Pressing this will select the ‘Format’ from Paste Special dialog box, i.e it will paste only the format

Things to Remember

  • The keyboard shortcuts for Format Painter only activate the Format Painter. To copy formatting in excel and paste it to other cells, the range of cells from which the format is to be applied are first selected immediately, and then the cells to which the format is to be pasted have to be adjacent to the cells from which format is copied.
  • In order to have real shortcut keys for Format Painter or a single key/button press, a macro can be built for this.
  • When we use the Format Painter button, it allows to copy and paste the desired formatting only once. This can be a problem when we wish to copy the formatting from some cells and then paste it to those cell ranges that are not contagious.
  • To overcome this problem, we can double click on the Format painter button which would lock the Format Painter and thus allow to paste the formatting until the Format Painter is disabled using the Escape key on the keyboard.

You can download this Shortcut for Format Painter Excel Template – Shortcut for Format Painter Excel Template

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This has been a guide to Shortcut for Format Painter in Excel. Here we discuss the top 2 keyboard shortcuts for using format painter in excel with practical examples. You may learn more about excel from the following articles –

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