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The Ultimate Guide to Excel's Format Painter (3 Examples)

Author: Sun Last Modified: 2024-04-24

Microsoft Excel's Format Painter is a powerful tool designed to enhance productivity and ensure consistency across your spreadsheets. It enables you to copy the format of a specific cell or range of cells and apply it to another cell or range. This includes all formatting forms, such as font size and color, cell borders, alignment settings, and conditional formatting rules. The tool is represented by a paintbrush icon on the Home tab in the Excel ribbon. Let's dive into how to use Format Painter effectively and explore some practical examples of its application.

Video: Format Painter in Excel


How to Use Format Painter


In this section, it provides three scenarios for telling you the basic usage of the Format Painter feature.

Applying Format Painter to a single cell or range

Step 1: Select the cell or cells whose formatting you want to copy

Here we select cell A2 which is bold and formatted with a yellow background.

Step 2: Click the Format Painter icon on the Home tab

Step 3:Highlight the target cell or range of cells where you want to apply the formatting.

Here, we select cell A7, then the copied formatting is instantly applied.

Note: After selecting a cell or range, the Format Painter will be deactivated immediately.

Applying Format Painter to multiple ranges

Step 1: Select the cell or cells whose formatting you want to copy

Here we select a range of A2:B2.

Step 2: Double-click the Format Painter icon on the Home tab to keep it active

Step 3: Select multiple target ranges sequentially

Here, we select cells A4, A7, and A9 sequentially, then the formatting will be applied to each as you go.

Note: When copying the formats of multiple cells (each with different formats), the target cells in the corresponding positions will be pasted with the same formats.

Step 4: Press Esc or click the Format Painter icon again to deactivate it

Applying Format Painter to other worksheets or workbooks

Step 1: Select the desired formatting as you would within a single worksheet

Step 2: Click the Format Painter on the Home tab to activate it
Note: If you want to apply the formatting to multiple sheets, double-click the Format Painter icon.

Step 3: Switch to the target worksheet or workbook
Note: Ensuring both workbooks are open.
Step 4: Highlight the cell or range to which you want to apply the formatting

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Examples of Using Format Painter

Format Painter can be used to streamline various formatting tasks across your Excel documents. Here are some examples for you to better know what Format Painter can help you.

Copy and Paste Formats in Font and Alignment Groups (Font Size, Characteristics, Color, Wrap Text…)

Whether it's adjusting the font size, applying bold or italic characteristics, changing the font color, aligning text, or adjusting indentation, Format Painter replicates your desired font styling with a single click.

Copy and Paste Formats in Number Group (Date, Currency, Time, Percentage…)

Format Painter helps you maintain uniformity in displaying dates, currencies, percentages, or other numerical formats, making your data easier to read and understand.

Copy and Paste Conditional Formatting

One of the most powerful applications of Format Painter is the ability to copy conditional formatting rules from one cell or range to another, enabling you to quickly apply complex data visualization strategies across your workbook.

Suppose the range D2:D11 has a conditional formatting rule applied (which highlights the top 30% of items with a red background color). We will now copy this conditional formatting and apply it to the range C2:C11.

Copy parts of formatting from one cell to other cells with Kutools for Excel

Using Kutools for Excel's "Copy Cell Formatting" feature, you can selectively copy specific parts of formatting from one cell and apply them to others. This tool provides a flexible way to duplicate formatting without using the standard copy-paste method, which copies all formatting. Here’s how to do it:

Pro tip: The Copy Cell Formatting feature can be applied after installing Kutools for Excel. Free Download Now.
Step 1: Click to select the cell whose formatting you wish to copy (This is your source cell.)
Step 2: Launch the Copy Cell Formatting Tool

On the Kutools tab, click Copy Cell Formatting in the Format drop-down menu.

Step 3: Specify Formatting Options

In the Copy Cell Formatting dialog, you’ll see a variety of formatting aspects such as Number Format, Alignment, Font, Border, and Fill.

Check the boxes next to the specific parts of formatting you want to copy. You can select multiple formatting options.

Here we only check the Category, Size, and Bold checkboxes. Click OK.

Step 4: Choose the destination cells and paste

Select one cell or range to paste the formatting, if you want to select multiple ranges, hold the Ctrl key to select them one by one.


Now the parts of formatting have been passed.

The Format Painter in Excel is an invaluable tool for anyone looking to save time while ensuring consistency in their spreadsheets. By understanding and utilizing the Format Painter effectively, you can enhance the visual appeal of your documents, streamline your workflow, and present your data more effectively. Whether you're working within a single sheet or across multiple documents, the Format Painter is a feature that can significantly boost your productivity in Excel.

For more game-changing Excel strategies that can elevate your data management, explore further here..

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