[excel] Remove leading or trailing spaces in an entire column of data


Quite often the issue is a non-breaking space - CHAR(160) - especially from Web text sources -that CLEAN can't remove, so I would go a step further than this and try a formula like this which replaces any non-breaking spaces with a standard one


Ron de Bruin has an excellent post on tips for cleaning data here

You can also remove the CHAR(160) directly without a workaround formula by

  • Edit .... Replace your selected data,
  • in Find What hold ALT and type 0160 using the numeric keypad
  • Leave Replace With as blank and select Replace All

How do I remove leading or trailing spaces of all cells in an entire column?

The worksheet's conventional Find and Replace (aka Ctrl+H) dialog is not solving the problem.

Without using a formula you can do this with 'Text to columns'.

  • Select the column that has the trailing spaces in the cells.
  • Click 'Text to columns'. Choose option 'Fixed width'.
  • Set a break line so the longest text will fit. If your largest cell has 100 characters you can set the breakline on 200 or whatever you want.
  • Finish the operation.
  • You can now delete the new column Excel has created.

The 'side-effect' is that Excel has removed all trailing spaces in the original column.

I was able to use Find & Replace with the "Find what:" input field set to:

" * "

(space asterisk space with no double-quotes)

and "Replace with:" set to: