How to remove unwanted characters in Excel

The Remove Characters tool from Ultimate Suite for Excel helps you remove custom characters and character sets in Excel by position or delete all their occurrences in the selected cells. Easily clear all letters, digits, non-printing characters, and punctuation marks. It's also possible to enter and remove a substring from your range.

Before you start

We care about your data. The add-in will back up your file if you select the corresponding option.

How to remove characters or substrings

Run the Remove Characters tool by clicking the Remove icon on the Ablebits Data tab in the Text group:
Run the Remove Characters tool.

Pick the Remove Characters option from the drop-down list and see the add-in's pane:
How to remove characters in Excel.

  1. Select the cells that contain the values you want to delete. You will see the range address right in this field.
  2. Click the Expand selection icon to highlight the whole table automatically.
  3. Choose the option that meets your needs:
    • Remove custom characters will delete the characters you enter into this field. If you have several symbols that you need to cut out from your range and you don't want to repeat this routine operation, just enter each character to eliminate into the Remove custom characters field and the add-in will delete all its instances in the selected cells.
    • Remove character sets. There are several sets of symbols you can pick from the drop-down list:
      1. Non-printing characters - delete all non-printing characters like line breaks, the first 32 non-printing characters in the 7-bit ASCII code (values 0 through 31), and additional nonprinting characters (values 127, 129, 141, 143, 144, and 157).
      2. Text characters - remove all letters from your cells.
      3. Numeric characters - delete all digits from the range of interest.
      4. Symbols and punctuation marks - remove all punctuation marks from the cells as well as the following symbols: mathematical, geometric, technical and currency symbols, letter-like symbols such as ?, 1, and ™.
    • Remove a substring. Delete any combination of characters, e.g. a word, from the selected cells.
    Note. Be careful with the text case: the substring will be deleted only if it has the same text case as the value you enter.
  4. Better leave the Back up the worksheet option checked to have a safe copy of your data.

Click the Remove button and enjoy quick results.

How to remove characters by position

Run the Remove by Position tool by clicking the Remove icon on the Ablebits Data tab in the Text group:
Remove by position in Excel.

You can see the add-in's pane with the following options:
How to remove text in Excel.

  1. To remove characters by position, select the range in Excel that contains the values you want to delete. The range address can be seen at the top of the pane.
  2. Click Expand selection to get the whole table highlighted automatically.
  3. Pick the radio button with the option that suits your task:
    • The first N characters. Delete any number of characters at the beginning of the needed cells in Excel.
    • The last N characters. Remove any number of characters at the end of each cell in your range.
    • All characters before text. Delete any values before the specified character or string in the range you select.
    • All characters after text. Remove everything after the specified character or string in the selected cells.
  4. Tick off the Back up the worksheet option to keep the original data intact.

Click the Remove button to see the results.


rahul choubey says:
July 27, 2018 at 5:25 pm

i wanna remove special character like (-) from a excel sheet...


Hi Rahul,
Thank you for your comment.
You can remove special characters using the Ablebits Text Toolkit add-in for Excel.
Feel free to download the 7-day free trial version here.

Michael Sedlock says:
February 26, 2020 at 4:57 pm

My Ablebits won't allow me to type in the box to enter a specific character.
how do i resolve this?


Hello Michael,
Thank you for contacting us. Sorry to hear that you've encountered this problem.

The issue you're reporting was caused by one of the Windows updates. We have already fixed it, please uninstall the current version of Ultimate Suite via Control Panel -> Programs and Features, install the latest update and check if you have the same problem with the new version.

You can download the latest version of Ultimate Suite Personal edition using this direct link:

If you're still having any difficulties, please contact us back.


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