What are the multiple ways you can start fresh and clear content from your spreadsheet on Google Sheets? I’d imagine it involves the “Ctrl + A” or “Select All” shortcut and pressing the “Delete” button, but this is a whole tutorial about it.
How to Clear Contents in Google Sheets
Naturally, there are multiple ways to go about clearing content in Google Sheets. It depends on how much content you want to clear out. Is it one cell? A row? A column? A table? A graph? A picture? This should be handled on a case-by-case basis.
Also always remember that when all else fails, you can always “Undo” or press the “Ctrl + Z” shortcut to remove any mistakes you made on short notice.
Method 1: Clear Data from Cells
Step 1: Open an existing spreadsheet or click this link to make a new spreadsheet. If you have a blank spreadsheet, you’ll be copy and pasting various elements for deletion later.
Step 2: Select a cell or range you wish to clear.
Step 3: Hit the “Delete” button or “Backspace” button on your keyboard.
Step 4: You can also select pictures and delete it this way.
Just select any picture and then press delete.
Method 2: Delete by Menu
Step 1: You can also use the menu to clear content from your cells. You also need to select a range of cells or a picture then open the “Edit” menu.
Select the “Delete” submenu and select which you’ll delete. You have multiple options for deletion. You can delete by “Values“, “Selected rows“, “Columns A-D”, “Cells and shift up”, “Cells and shift left”, and “Notes”.
Step 2: When you delete by “Values“, everything inside the cell is deleted but the formatting remains.
To illustrate, when you type something in Cell A2, it will still has the same formatting as the value you deleted, which was “January”. It’s still indented and bulleted.
If you had chosen “Selected rows“, this would’ve instead happened. The rows from 2 to 4 have been deleted, along with their formatted cells, resulting rows 4 and below to shift up and take their place.
As you can also see, the formulas have been ruined because the cells they were referencing have been deleted along with the original Row 2 to 4. The picture is out of place and overlapping the other table below too.
This is what happens when you delete Columns A-D. The whole top table has been deleted because it’s contained within those columns. The rest of the rows and columns have also shifted upwards and sideward to the left.
As for deleting “Cells and shift up”, it results in shifting similar to when you delete Rows 2 to 4. It also messes with cell-referencing formulas as well.
As for “Cells and shift left“, it results in the blank cells from the right of the deleted cells to take their place.
As for “Notes”, you need to have notes or comments to delete those. They’re the little text boxes that appear when you hover your mouse cursor over a cell or element on your spreadsheet.
Method 3: Clear Formatting from Cells
Deleting a cell or cluster of cells by pressing “Delete” or “Backspace” doesn’t delete their formatting in Google Sheets. n order to clear the formatting of the cells and not just their values, follow the steps below.
Step 1: Select the cells you wish to clear the formatting of but not necessarily clear their values.
The table below has the header text color in white, the header cell color in red, the header words in bold, and each header has filters included for easy filtration and sorting of the data below.
Step 2: Instead of opening the “Edit” menu, instead open the “Format” menu to select the “Clear formatting” option at the bottom. Incidentally, it has a keyboard shortcut too. It’s “Ctrl + \” or “Ctrl + Black slash”.
Step 3: All the formatting will be cleared from the selected cells. You’ll notice that the text formatting (value) and the filter (can only be removed by clicking the filter icon) remains.
What You Ultimately Need to Know
There are multiple ways to delete data on a Google Sheets spreadsheet. However, for the most part, it’s usually easier to just start from scratch than bothering to “Select all” and press “Delete” on what you’ve made.
It’s even possible to go to an earlier state of your saved Google Sheets file, before you started placing things and elements on it and whatnot.
- “How To Clear Cells In Google Sheets“, SheetsforMarketers.com, Retrieved July 3, 2022
- PDFEditing, “How to make Clear Cell Button in Google Sheets“, YouTube, July 21, 2020
- Learn Google Spreadsheets, “Google Sheets – Clear Contents, Keep Formulas“, YouTube, August 25, 2020
- “How to Clear Cell Contents in Excel & Google Sheets“, AutomateExcel.com, Retrieved July 3, 2022
Google Sheet: make a copy