May 21

How to Remove Apostrophe in Excel the Quick Way

2  comments

Have you ever encountered a problem in Excel where a column of numbers or dates is preceded by an apostrophe, making it impossible to perform calculations or sort the data? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. This pesky little symbol can be a real pain, but fortunately, removing it is not as difficult as you might think. In this article, we will show you step-by-step how to remove apostrophes in Excel, and provide you with some handy tips and tricks along the way.

What is an Apostrophe in Excel?

Before we dive into the solutions, let’s take a moment to understand why apostrophes appear in Excel in the first place. The most common reason is that the data you are working with is in a format that Excel does not recognize, such as a CSV file or data imported from another program. When this happens, Excel automatically adds an apostrophe to the beginning of each cell to indicate that the value is text, rather than a number or date.

While this may seem like a helpful feature, it can actually be quite frustrating if you need to perform calculations or manipulate the data in some way. Fortunately, there are a few different methods you can use to remove the apostrophes and convert the text to numbers or dates.

Method 1: Find and Replace

One of the easiest ways to remove apostrophes in Excel is by using the Find and Replace feature.

Here’s how to do it:

1. Select the range of cells that contain the apostrophes you want to remove.

2. Press Ctrl + H to open the Find and Replace dialog box. In the “Find what” field, enter an apostrophe (').

3. Leave the “Replace with” field blank. Click “Replace All”.

Excel will remove all the apostrophes in the selected range of cells. However, be careful when using this method, as it will remove all apostrophes in the selected range, including those that are meant to be there.

Method 2: Text to Columns

Another way to remove apostrophes in Excel is by using the Text to Columns feature.

Here’s how to do it:

1. Select the range of cells that contain the apostrophes you want to remove. Click the “Data” tab in the ribbon.

2. Click “Text to Columns”.

3. In the “Convert Text to Columns Wizard”, select “Delimited”

Click “Next”,

4. Uncheck all the delimiters.

Click “Next”,

5. In the “Column data format” section, select “General” and click “Finish”.

Excel will convert the text to general format, which will remove the apostrophes. Again, be careful when using this method, as it will convert all the text in the selected range, not just the apostrophes.

Method 3: Formula Bar

If you only need to remove an apostrophe from a single cell, you can do it using the Formula bar.

Here’s how to do it:

1. Select the cell that contains the apostrophe you want to remove. Click on the Formula bar at the top of the screen.

2. Delete the apostrophe from the beginning of the text. Press “Enter” to save the changes.

Excel will remove the apostrophe from the selected cell.

Method 4: VBA Macro

For those of us who are not well-versed in VBA macros, the thought of using them to remove apostrophes in Excel can be intimidating and overwhelming. It’s hard enough trying to figure out how to use Excel in the first place, let alone diving into the world of macros and programming.

Here’s a simple macro that will remove all apostrophes in the active sheet:

Sub RemoveApostrophes()
    Dim cell As Range
    For Each cell In ActiveSheet.UsedRange
        If Left(cell.Value, 1) = "'" Then
            cell.Value = Mid(cell.Value, 2)
        End If
    Next cell
End Sub

Simply copy and paste this code into a new module in your workbook, and you’re ready to go. When you run the macro, it will loop through all the cells in the active sheet and remove any apostrophes at the beginning of the text.

But fear not, my friends! If you’re up for a challenge and willing to learn something new, VBA macros can be a powerful tool in your Excel arsenal. With just a few lines of code, you can automate the tedious task of removing apostrophes and save yourself a ton of time and frustration.

Sure, it may seem daunting at first, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without macros. And with a little bit of practice and experimentation, you may even discover new and innovative ways to streamline your workflow and improve your productivity.

So don’t be afraid to take the plunge and give VBA macros a try. Who knows? You may just surprise yourself with what you’re capable of achieving.

Conclusion

This may seem like a trivial task to some, but for those of us who have spent hours upon hours trying to remove apostrophes in Excel, it can be incredibly frustrating and time-consuming. There’s nothing more aggravating than trying to perform calculations or manipulate data, only to be met with a barrage of apostrophes that Excel insists on treating as text.

But fear not, my fellow Excel warriors! With these simple methods, you can finally rid yourself of those pesky apostrophes and reclaim your sanity. No more wasted time or lost productivity. No more frustration or confusion. Just clean, unadulterated data that you can work with and manipulate to your heart’s content.

Whether you prefer the simplicity of Find and Replace, the power of Text to Columns, the convenience of the Formula bar, or the flexibility of VBA macros, there’s a method for everyone. So go forth, my friends, and conquer those apostrophes! Excel is no longer the boss of you.

Allen Hoffman

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  • Tried methods #2 and #3 on cells that contained text but with a leading apostrophe. Neither method worked in Excel from Office 365 for Windows.

    • Hi Yves,

      If methods #2 and #3 did not work for removing leading apostrophes in cells containing text, there are a couple of possibilities to consider:

      1. Nature of the Apostrophe: Sometimes, the character that looks like an apostrophe might not be the standard apostrophe character (‘). It could be a different character, like a grave accent (“`) or a different typographic quote. If this is the case, the methods mentioned might not recognize it as an apostrophe to remove.

      2. Data Format Issues: If the data was imported or copied from another source, it might have brought along some formatting that interferes with Excel’s ability to recognize and manipulate it correctly. This can sometimes happen with data from web sources or other applications.

      3. Excel Settings: There might be specific settings or configurations in your Excel application that are affecting the behavior of these functions.

      Here are some suggestions to resolve the Issue:

      1. Check the Apostrophe Character: Double-check the character by copying it into a plain text editor (like Notepad) to see if it’s the standard apostrophe. If it’s not, you’ll need to use the correct character in the Find and Replace method.

      2. Use Find and Replace (Method #1): Given that the other methods didn’t work, try using the Find and Replace method. This method is more direct and can sometimes handle peculiarities better. Remember to put the exact character you want to remove in the “Find what” field.

      3. Clean the Data: If the data was imported, try using the CLEAN function in Excel to remove non-printable characters, or the TRIM function to remove any extra spaces that might be causing issues.

      4. Check Excel Settings: Ensure that there are no specific settings in Excel that might be causing this issue. This can include checking for any add-ins or custom settings that might interfere with standard functions.

      5. VBA Macro: If all else fails and you’re comfortable with VBA, you can use the VBA method provided in the article. This method is more technical but can be very effective in handling bulk data.

      If these suggestions still don’t resolve the issue, it might be helpful to look into the specific nature of the data and how it was entered or imported into Excel, as there might be some clues there.

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