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How to Use the Excel 2013 Format Painter

The Format Painter button (with paintbrush icon) in the Clipboard group of the Home tab of Excel 2013 takes formatting from the current cell and applies it to cells that you “paint” by dragging its special thick-white cross-plus-paintbrush mouse pointer through them.

This tool, therefore, provides a quick-and-easy way to take a bunch of different formats (such as a new font, font size, bold, and italics) that you applied individually to a cell in the spreadsheet and then turn around and use them as the guide for formatting a new range of cells.

To use the Format Painter, follow these steps:


Position the cell cursor in a cell that contains the formatting that you want copied to another range of cells in the spreadsheet.

This cell becomes the sample cell whose formatting is taken up by Format Painter and copied in the cells that “paint” with its special mouse pointer.


Click the Format Painter button (with the paintbrush icon) in the Clipboard group on the Home tab of the Ribbon.

As soon as you click this button, Excel adds a paintbrush icon to the standard thick white-cross mouse pointer, indicating that the Format Painter is ready to copy the formatting from the sample cell.


Drag the mouse pointer through the range of cells that you want formatted identically to the sample cell.

The moment that you release the mouse button, the cells in the range that you just selected with the Format Painter become formatted the same way as the sample cell.

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