How to Remove Dashes From Social Security Numbers in Excel

By Tricia Goss

Microsoft Excel is a powerful spreadsheet application that provides the tools you need to import, create and present data effectively. For example, you can arrange one cell, row, column or entire worksheet to format numbers in a specific manner, such as ZIP codes or Social Security numbers. Excel will automatically include the necessary dashes. You may have a worksheet full of formatted Social Security numbers, however, and need to change them to simple numerical information. Learn how to remove the dashes from a worksheet quickly.

Step 1

Open the Excel worksheet containing the Social Security numbers or other data from which you want to remove the dashes. Select the cells containing the numbers. If you want to remove the dashes from the entire worksheet, click the "Select All" button, which is the rectangle between "A" and "1" in the upper left of the worksheet. To select an entire row or column, click on the number or letter pertaining to that row or column. To select several cells in the worksheet, press and hold the "Ctrl" key while you click on each cell.

Step 2

Click the "Format" drop-down in the "Cells" group of the "Home" tab in Excel 2007 and select "Format Cells." In Excel 2003 or earlier, go to the "Format" menu and click "Cells."

Step 3

Go to the "Number" tab of the "Format Cells" dialog box. Select "Number" in the "Category" box. Change "Decimal Places" to "0" and click "OK."

Step 4

Open the "Find and Replace" dialog while the cells are still selected. Go to the "Find & Select" drop-down on the "Home" tab in Excel 2007 and select "Replace." In Excel 2003 or earlier, go to the "Edit" menu and click on "Replace." You can also use the keyboard shortcut "Ctrl+H" to open "Find and Replace."

Step 5

Type a dash into the "Find What" box. Leave the "Replace With" box empty. Click the "Replace All" button. Excel will find all of the dashes in the selected cells and remove them.