How to Format a Memory Card for a Canon Camera

By Contributing Writer

One significant advantage that Canon digital cameras have over film cameras is the ability to format and reuse memory cards, rather than continuously having to buy and replace rolls of film. Memory cards can also be removed and replaced without having to worry about accidentally exposing images. Different cameras require different types of memory cards, though each type can be accessed and formatted in the same ways. Canon digital cameras are designed to allow users to access and format memory cards by connecting the device to a computer with a USB cable, or by removing the memory card from the camera and inserting it into a compatible memory card reader. Canon digital cameras also allow users to format a memory card while it is still in the camera.

Things You'll Need

  • Canon-compatible memory card
  • Computer
  • Memory card reader (stand-alone or built into other devices, such as printers)

Step 1

Determine the most appropriate method of accessing your memory card, which can be read by either plugging the digital camera directly into a computer, or by using a memory card reader. A card can also be formatted directly from the camera.

Step 2

Format the camera's memory card, without removing it from the Canon camera, by using a USB cable to connect the camera directly to a computer. Ensure that the USB cable is compatible with both the computer and the camera by connecting one end to each device (all cables with the correct connectors are compatible).

Step 3

Locate the camera's memory card compartment and remove the memory card, if you plan to use a card reader. Compartment locations vary, depending on the type of Canon camera. Some cameras have a separate memory card slot, while others use the same compartment for both the battery and card.

Step 4

Ensure that the card reader is connected to your computer, and that it is functioning properly. If the device is functioning, your computer will automatically detect the memory card that is inserted into the memory card reader. An incompatible device will create an error message, or it will not detect the memory card.

Step 5

Open the memory card's image folder on your computer. This folder will be created automatically, if there are no conflicts between your camera or card reader and your computer.

Step 6

Format the memory card by selecting this folder (locations will vary depending on operating systems) and either deleting its full contents or select pictures.

Step 7

Format the memory card while it is in the Canon camera by using the camera's image delete or card format options, which are located in the camera's settings menu. Many SLR cameras also have an image delete button located near the LCD screen.