Clear Contents in Excel (Shortcut)

Clearing content from the cells in Excel is a common task for most Excel users. Maybe you got the data entry wrong or maybe you want to remove the formula you have in a cell and start over.

There are multiple ways to clear the contents of the cells in Excel, and using a keyboard shortcut is the most efficient way to do it.

In this article, I will show you three simple shortcuts to clear content in Excel.

Clear Contents Shortcut #1: Use the ‘Delete’ Key

The first method is the simplest, and you can use the ‘Delete’ button on the keyboard.


How to Use this keyboard shortcut

Below are the steps to use the Delete key to clear contents in Excel:

  1. Select the cell or range of cells from which you want to clear the content
  2. Press the Delete key once

This method works in the same way even if you have selected one cell, multiple cells, or a range of cells.

Note: This will only remove the content of the cell, and not the formatting.

Clear Contents Shortcut #2: Using the ALT Key

Below is another keyboard shortcut to clear contents in Excel:

ALT + H + E + C

How to Use this Keyboard Shortcut

Below are the steps to use the shortcut

  1. Select the cells or the range of cells that you want to clear
  2. With the cell selected, use the shortcut ALT + H + E + C. First press the Alt key, and then the H, E, and C alphabet keys (one after the other)

Note: To be honest, this is just a longer shortcut and does what the Delete key does. So, while it’s good to know, it’s best to use the Delete key only if you want to clear the cell content only.

Also read: Shortcut to Paste as Values in Excel

Clear Contents Shortcut #3: Using the ‘Backspace’ Key

Even though backspace is not typically used for clearing content, it can be used for removing partial content from a cell.

You select a cell and press the backspace button and it will clear the content in the same way as the “Delete” button.

You can also click on the cell to edit it and then use the backspace key to partially delete the content.

A couple of things to note, the Delete key is your best friend when you need to clear multiple cells at once.

The Backspace key will instead just clear the first cell, which can be annoying sometimes! However, the Backspace key can be used to partially clean content in the cell.

Important Things I Should Know When Using Clear Content

  • Check Your Selection: Ensure you’ve correctly selected the cells you want to clear. Accidentally clearing the wrong cells can result in lost data.
  • Undo Option: If you clear content by mistake, you can quickly undo the action by pressing ‘Ctrl’ + ‘Z’.
  • Formulas and References: Be cautious if clearing cells with formulas or cells referenced by formulas elsewhere in your sheet. This might lead to errors or unexpected results.

By understanding how to clear content effectively, you can manage and manipulate your Excel data more efficiently, ensuring your worksheets remain clean, organized, and up-to-date.

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