How to Fix Excel TRIM Function Not Working (A Easy Way)

January 30, 2024 1.5K views

The Excel TRIM function is a powerful tool for cleaning up data. However, it can sometimes malfunction, resulting in unexpected results or errors. This article will provide a detailed guide on how to master the TRIM function in Excel effectively, so you can avoid these problems and ensure that your data is always clean and accurate.

Why Excel TRIM Is Not Working

Incorrect syntax or usage mistakes: The TRIM function requires accurate syntax and usage. Errors in using the function, such as missing parentheses or incorrect arguments, can lead to its malfunction.

Issues with cell references and ranges: If the TRIM function is applied to the wrong cell references or ranges, it might not produce the intended results. Using incorrect references can lead to trimming the wrong data.

Hidden characters affecting TRIM's performance: The TRIM function is designed to remove leading spaces and trailing spaces. However, hidden non-printable characters, such as line breaks or tabs, can affect its performance and lead to unexpected outcomes.

How to Fix It When Excel Trim Is Not Working

1. Check Your Formula

  • Syntax: Verify that your formula follows the correct syntax rules for using the TRIM function.

  • Function: Make sure you're using the TRIM function correctly, with the appropriate text reference.

  • Argument: Ensure you're providing the correct argument (text) to the TRIM function

I found this method to be the most effective way to remove leading and trailing spaces in Excel. However, it can be a bit tricky to get the syntax right. If you're not sure how to use the TRIM function, you can always consult the Excel help documentation.

2. SUBSTITUTE Function

2.1 Insert the Basic SUBSTITUTE Function

Start by selecting a cell where you intend to apply the SUBSTITUTE function. For instance, let's choose cell D5 from our dataset.

Step 1: Insert the Basic SUBSTITUTE Function

After selecting cell D5, input the SUBSTITUTE function into the Formula Bar. The formula for the SUBSTITUTE function is as follows:

=SUBSTITUTE(B5, " ", "")

Step 2: Press Enter

Press Enter on your keyboard. You will observe that cell D5 now displays "Amazon" as the outcome of the SUBSTITUTE function.

Step 3: Use AutoFill

Move your cursor to the bottom-right corner of cell D5. An autoFill sign will appear. Drag this autoFill sign downward to replicate the formula.

2.2 Use of the SUBSTITUTE and CHAR Functions

Begin by selecting cell C5 from our dataset, as this is where we will apply the TRIM, SUBSTITUTE, and CHAR functions to eliminate excess spaces.

Step 1: Use of the SUBSTITUTE and CHAR Functions

Next, type the TRIM, SUBSTITUTE, and CHAR functions into the Formula Bar. Within the TRIM function's dialog box, embed the SUBSTITUTE and CHAR functions. The formula is as follows:


Step 2: Press Enter

Press Enter on your keyboard to execute the formula. You'll notice that the output of these combined functions is "Am a z o n."

Step 3: Use AutoFill

Finally, position your cursor on the bottom-right corner of cell C5. As before, an autoFill sign will appear. Drag the autoFill sign downward to apply the formula and achieve the desired output.

This method is a bit more flexible than the first method, because you can use it to replace any text, not just spaces. However, it can be a bit more complicated to use.

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3. Perform Find & Select Command

Step 1: Access Find & Select

Navigate to the Home tab on your Excel ribbon.

Home → Editing → Find & Select → Replace

Step 2: Open Find and Replace Window

Click on the "Replace" option. This action will prompt the appearance of the Find and Replace window.

Step 3: Configure Find and Replace

In the Find and Replace window: Enter a space character in the "Find what" box.

Keep the "Replace with" box empty.

Step 4: Replace All

Click on the "Replace All" button. Excel will proceed to replace all instances of spaces with empty characters.

A new dialog box titled "Microsoft Excel" will appear, displaying the message "All done. We made [X] replacements." The number of replacements made will be specified in place of "[X]." Press the "OK" button on the "Microsoft Excel" dialog box to confirm and finalize the replacements.

This method is the easiest to use, but it is not as precise as the other methods. It will remove all instances of spaces, including spaces that are not leading or trailing.

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1. What Is The Difference Between Non-breaking vs. Regular Spaces?

Non-breaking space has an ASCII code of 160, while regular space has an ASCII code of 32. The Excel TRIM function is designed to remove spaces with an ASCII code of 32.


In conclusion, mastering the Excel TRIM function is essential for maintaining data integrity and accuracy. This comprehensive guide has equipped you with insights into why the TRIM function might malfunction and how to address these issues effectively.

By following the step-by-step tutorial, you can ensure that your data remains clean and free from unexpected errors. Moreover, if you're seeking an efficient and user-friendly office suite, WPS Office stands out as a powerful alternative. Its versatile features, compatibility, and optimized performance make it an ideal choice for both beginners and experts.

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