Format Painter in Google Sheets (Copy formatting easily)

Formatting data and making it look good and more readable is something we often do when working with Google Sheets.

And Google Sheets has a tool that makes copy-pasting of formatting really easy.

It’s the Format Painter tool (called the Paint Format in Google Sheets).

Once you have applied the formatting to a cell or range of cells, you can use the format painter to copy it to another cell/range in the same worksheet or other worksheets in the same document.

In this tutorial, I will show you how to use the format painter to copy and paste the formatting in Google Sheets.

Format Painter in Google Sheets

Format Painter is one of those functionalities in Google Sheets that’s available only in the toolbar (and not in the menu drop-down options).

You can find it on the left in the toolbar (see the image below).

Format Painter icon in toolbar

This format painter tool works as a toggle.

When you click on it once, it gets activated and when you click it twice, it gets deactivated.

How to Use Format Painter in Google Sheets

Suppose you have a dataset as shown below where I have formatting in column A and no formatting in column B.

dataset where formatting needs to be copied

Below are the steps to use the format painter in Google Sheets:

  1. Select the cells that have the formatting that you want to copy
  2. Click on the Paint Format icon in the toolbar. This is activated the format painter (you will see that the icon would become green)Paint format activated
  3. Select the cells on which you want to copy the formatting

The above steps would easily copy-paste the formatting from column A to column B.

Dataset after copy pasting the formatting

Note that once you activate the format painter, you can only use it once. After that, you need to activate it again to use it.

Also, when you select a cell and click on the paint format icon in the toolbar, it copies the formatting. Now, when you select the same size target cell, the exact formatting is copied. But when you select a larger range, the formatting repeats.

And one more thing, you can also use format painter to copy conditional formatting rules as well. In case you have used formulas in the conditional formula when you copy-paste the conditional formatting, the formula references would adjust accordingly.

I hope you found this tutorial useful!

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