If you need to strip leading and trailing spaces from text in one or more cells, you can use the TRIM function. In the example show, the formula in cell C3 is:


Once you've removed extra spaces, you can copy the cells with formulas and paste special elsewhere as "values" to get the final text.

Video: How to clean text with TRIM and CLEAN

Generic formula



The TRIM function is fully automatic. It removes both leading and trailing spaces from text strings, and also "normalizes" multiple spaces between words to one space character only. All you need to do is supply a reference to a cell.


If you also need to remove line breaks from cells, you can add the CLEAN function like so:


The CLEAN function removes a range of non-printing characters, including line breaks, and returns "cleaned" text. The TRIM function then takes over to remove extra spaces and returns the final text.

Other problematic characters

Note that CLEAN cannot remove all non-printing characters, notably a non-breaking space, which can appear in Excel as CHAR(160). By adding the SUBSTITUTE function to the formula, you can remove specific characters. For example, to remove a non-breaking space, you can use:

Dave Bruns Profile Picture

AuthorMicrosoft Most Valuable Professional Award

Dave Bruns

Hi - I'm Dave Bruns, and I run Exceljet with my wife, Lisa. Our goal is to help you work faster in Excel. We create short videos, and clear examples of formulas, functions, pivot tables, conditional formatting, and charts.