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Shortcut Key for Format Painter

Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Excel 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Excel, click here: Shortcut Key for Format Painter.

Fred loves to use the Format Painter, but doesn't like to use the mouse to use the tool. He would find it much easier to use if there were a shortcut key instead. Unfortunately, Excel doesn't provide a single shortcut key you can use for the Format Painter. You can, however, use the following steps:

  1. Select the cell from which the format is to be copied.
  2. Press Ctrl+C. This copies the cell to the Clipboard.
  3. Select the cells to receive the format.
  4. Press Alt+E, S, T, Enter. This sequence displays the Paste Special dialog box and chooses to paste only the format.

In step 4 you could also press Shift+F10 rather than Alt+E. The first displays the Context menu for the cells and the other uses the regular menu system.

If you prefer a real shortcut key (only a single key press), then you will need to develop your own macro to paste only the format. The following is an example of such a macro.

Sub PasteSpecialFormats()
    If Application.CutCopyMode = False Then
        MsgBox "No formatting in Clipboard"
        Selection.PasteSpecial Paste:=xlFormats
    End If
End Sub

To use the macro, follow steps 1 through 3 as previously outlined, and then run the macro. Since the macro can be assigned to a shortcut key, you end up with an easier shortcut than what has already been discussed.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (3225) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Excel (Excel 2007 and later) here: Shortcut Key for Format Painter.

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Comments for this tip:

vipmog    17 Apr 2015, 04:32
Thank You Very Much for an excellent and easy tip.
I was so much waiting to get this shortcut.

I am a keyboard buff and dont use mouse much and this shortcut saved a lot of my time.

You are doing good work.

HK    15 Apr 2015, 16:39
Just to clairfy what someone else mentioned:

1. Doulbe click format painter
2. Hold Cntrl and click all the cells you'd like to format
Wesley    10 Apr 2015, 12:55
Just double click format painter...->>>>> Mind Blown
Laster    06 Mar 2015, 09:58
I have one more idea: Add the Format Painter to the "Quick Access Toolbar". In order to do this:
- use drop-down menu at the very top (in the title bar)
- Choose "More commands"
- Select Format Painter in left list (Popular commands) and click Add Button
- Close window (Press Ok)
- Now the Format Painter will be shown in the Quick Access Toolbar
- It can be easily accessed with the keyboard by pressing ALT+number (number is depending on the position in the toolbar, in my case it is ALT+4)

Hope that helps.
yolo    13 Oct 2014, 07:21
Could someone make a shortcut just for the format painter? It's so annoying...
omkar    17 Jun 2014, 11:47
1) Ctrl + C
2) the keyboard key of mouse right click (button just below ques.mark)
3) S
4) T
Omkar    17 Jun 2014, 11:45
The other shortcut is
1) Ctrl C
2) button of mouse right click (the button just below ques. mark or the one between ctrl & Alt on right side)
3) s (for paste special)
4) t (for format)
Rorrey    15 Dec 2013, 11:17
Dmitri thanks. Very helpful. I would like something to format paint without the mouse in Word. Anybody know?
Dmitri Colebatch    08 Dec 2013, 08:08
Thanks - good approach. Personally I find the following sequence better:


The double control brings up the paste special as well, I use it often to do paste without format.
Murali K    12 Aug 2013, 22:25
Thanks a lot. It was very useful tips to me. Because me too shortcut lover.
Khalid Rashid    05 Apr 2013, 05:01
I have an idea for applying formats, pasting in values or just the formula. Create custom icons for eah of these functions at the top by using customise quick access toolbar and going down to more commands, selecting what you want and applying a memorable icon if you wish. I use this method to have commonly used macros to hand
Sarah    05 Mar 2013, 15:39
Thank you so much!!!!! First time using Macro! Works soooo great!!!!!
Abdul Qadoos    20 Nov 2012, 09:14
Thanks a lot
Saroj    30 Oct 2012, 07:41
Wow! I had been struggling with the mouse for months. Very helpful.
Amir D.     25 Oct 2012, 20:17
Brilliant! Thanks for this.
lava    15 Jun 2012, 08:09
Michael JB    13 May 2012, 11:40
Thanks! This was just what i was looking for. The macro is the best option for me so I can kep key presses to a minimum.


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