Useful Text Functions: UPPER, LOWER, and PROPER

There are a handful of text functions that I always seem to be using. These are all very simple but very helpful, and every time I show them to someone, I almost always get back something along the lines of “wow, cool!” So I thought I would share my most frequently used text functions in the next couple of posts.

Before I begin, I want to define for you what exactly a text function is. “Text” is basically anything in a cell. Text usually consists of letters, words, codes, names, or symbols, but can also include numbers.

A “function” is a formula that’s been pre-programmed into Excel. When you see “=” and an uppercase word followed by parentheses, that’s a function. For example, “=SUM(A1,B1)” is a function.

So therefore, a “text function” is a preset formula that let’s you do something to pieces of text. I use text functions pretty often to clean up my data. In today’s post, I’ll talk about the UPPER, LOWER, and PROPER functions.

The UPPER Function

The UPPER function simply capitalizes your letters.

For example, say you have the text “Savvy Spreadsheets” in cell B2, but you want to capitalize all of the letters. Instead of actually typing it out, you can use the UPPER function. Let’s return “SAVVY SPREADSHEETS” in cell C2. If you type “=UPPER(B2)” in cell C2, you are telling Excel to take whatever is in B2 and make it all uppercase.

This would be the result.

The LOWER Function

The LOWER function is the opposite of the UPPER function. It makes all of your letters lowercase.

If you have “SAVVY SPREADSHEETS” in cell B2 and you want the lowercase version of it in C2, you would type “=LOWER(B2)” in C2.

And this is what it would look like.


The PROPER Function

PROPER capitalizes just the first letter of each word.

Now say you have “savvy spreadsheets” in B2, and want to capitalize just the first “s” in each word. If you type in “=PROPER(B2)” in C2…

You have this result.

Pretty straightforward right? UPPER, LOWER, and PROPER are really easy ways to make your data look uniform. And they are especially awesome when you have lots of data that’s inconsistently formatted. Imagine manually retyping thousands of names into proper case! No thank you, I’ll take a text function over that any day!

Next week, I’ll show you some more fun text functions