How to Capitalize Names in Excel

November 01, 2013

Having nicely formatted data is a must if you plan on showing your spreadsheets to anyone who’s willing to look at them. And while you may know how to color or change the font type, sometimes (well, maybe a lot of the time) your data itself might need some formatting from within.

One of those times you may need to capitalize names in Excel. So, how do you do it?

Use the Proper Function

No, that’s not a joke. Excel has a function called “Proper” that capitalizes the first letter of each word in a string. This is the easiest function to use to capitalize names in Excel (there are other methods, but they’re not that pretty).

Example usage:

=Proper(A1)

Below is an interactive Excel workbook I created for you to play around with. I illustrated some examples below, but feel free to change the text in the first column and the formulas in the second column will adjust. Check it out!

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Watch for Apostrophes

One of the cool things about the Proper function is that it notices names like O’Connor and O’Dowd. However, if the apostrophe is used for something like Joseph's it then becomes Joseph'S so be careful when using this function. However, special characters like ñ in Piña Colada work out ok.

Using the Proper Function on Various Cells

Just in case you were wondering, “but Joseph, what if I I have a First Name column and a Last Name column, what do I do?”

If you were thinking:

=Proper(A1)&" "&Proper(B1)

Yes, that’s one way. But you can also do this:

=Proper(A1&" "&B1)

Since Excel works on what’s in the parenthesis first (like in math), it will combine the first name, a space, and then a last name and put the correct capitalization on them.


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Written by Joseph who loves teaching about Excel.

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