How to Use Proper Function in Excel (Easy Steps)

January 30, 2024 437 views

In today's data-driven landscape, precision and presentation are pivotal. The "PROPER" function in Excel offers a valuable solution, elegantly capitalizing the initial letter of each word in your text. In this article, we unveil the secrets of this function, demystify its syntax, and provide practical examples for its application. But our journey doesn't stop there; we also introduce you to WPS Office, a user-friendly software that complements your document needs, ensuring both efficiency and elegance in your work.

Part 1. What is Proper Function in Excel?

Proper Function in Excel

The "PROPER" function in Excel is a valuable tool for text transformation. It serves the purpose of capitalizing the first letter of each word within a text string, ensuring a professional and polished appearance. When you apply the "PROPER" function, it returns the text with each word's initial letter in uppercase and the rest in lowercase. This simple yet effective function is highly versatile and can be used in various scenarios.

Key Components:

  • Purpose: The "PROPER" function is used to convert text to title case format, making the first letter of each word capitalized.

  • Return Value: When you use the "PROPER" function, it returns the text with the first letter of each word in uppercase.

  • Arguments: The main argument is the text you want to convert. You simply place this text within the function as an argument.

  • Syntax: To employ the "PROPER" function, you use the following syntax: "=PROPER(text)". You replace "text" with the actual text you want to convert.

When to Use the Formula:

The "PROPER" function is best utilized when you need to format text as title case while preserving its original content. Whether you're working on reports, articles, or any other text-based documents, this function ensures your text appears professional and well-organized.

Part 2. How to Use the Proper Function in Excel?

In this section, we'll provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to use the "PROPER" function in Excel. We'll walk you through several examples to ensure you understand its practical application.

Example 1: Capitalize a Single Cell

Step 1: Open Excel and enter your text in a cell, for instance, in cell A1.

Step 2: In another cell where you want the capitalized text to appear (e.g., cell B1), type the following formula: =PROPER(A1).

Proper Function example

Step 3: Press Enter, and cell B1 will display the text from cell A1 with the first letter of each word capitalized.

Example 2: Combining and Capitalizing Text from Multiple Cells

Step 1: Imagine you have text in different cells. Let's say you have text in cells A1, A2, and A3.

Step 2: In a new cell (e.g., cell B1), you can create a formula that combines the text from these cells and capitalizes it. Type the following formula: =PROPER(A1 & " " & A2 & " " & A3).

Capitalizing Text from Multiple Cells

Step 3: Press Enter, and cell B1 will show the combined text from cells A1, A2, and A3 with proper capitalization.

Example 3: Conditional Capitalization

Step 1: Excel's "PROPER" function can also be used within conditional formulas. Let's say you have a list of cities in column A, and you want to capitalize their names only if they meet specific criteria.

Step 2: In an adjacent column (e.g., column B), create a formula like this: =IF(condition, PROPER(A1), A1). Replace "condition" with the criteria you want to apply.

Conditional Capitalization

Step 3: Press Enter, and Excel will capitalize the names of cities that meet your specified condition.

By following these step-by-step instructions and examples, you can effectively utilize the "PROPER" function in Excel to format your text as title case, making your documents look more professional and organized.

Part3: Best Free Alternative - WPS Office

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1. Why is the proper formula not working in Excel?

The "PROPER" formula in Excel may not work as expected due to various reasons. Here are some common issues and solutions:

  1. Incorrect Syntax: Double-check the syntax of the formula. Ensure that you've correctly entered the "PROPER" function and its arguments. It should be in the form of "=PROPER(text)".

  2. Cell Formatting: The formula may not work if the cell containing the text isn't formatted as text. To resolve this, change the cell's format to text by selecting the cell, right-clicking, choosing Format Cells, and setting the cell format to "Text."

  3. Hidden Characters: Sometimes, hidden or non-printing characters, such as spaces or line breaks, can affect the formula's behavior. Use the "CLEAN" function to remove non-printing characters from the text before applying "PROPER."

  4. Unsupported Characters: "PROPER" may not handle special characters well. If your text contains symbols, numbers, or non-standard characters, it may not capitalize words correctly.

  5. Formula Errors: If there are errors in other parts of your worksheet or other formulas, it can impact the "PROPER" formula. Ensure there are no errors in the cells referenced by the formula.

  6. Extra Spaces: Extra spaces before or after the text may lead to improper capitalization. You can use the "TRIM" function to remove extra spaces.

  7. Not Referring to the Correct Cell: Make sure the formula references the cell with the text you want to capitalize. Check that the cell reference in the formula is accurate.

  8. Regional Settings: Depending on your regional settings, Excel may use different functions for text manipulation. If you're working with text in a language that has different capitalization rules, you might need a different function.

By addressing these potential issues, you can troubleshoot and ensure that the "PROPER" formula works correctly in Excel.

2. How to change uppercase to proper case in Excel without formula?

To change text from uppercase to proper case in Excel without a formula, follow these simple steps:

Step 1: Copy the uppercase text.

Step 2: Paste it in a new cell.

Clipboard tab

Step 3: Edit the pasted text as needed to make it proper case.


In summary, this article delves into the powerful "PROPER" function in Excel, demonstrating how it expertly capitalizes the initial letter of each word in text, enhancing document presentation. We provide a comprehensive overview of its purpose, return value, and usage, along with practical examples for readers to grasp its utility. Additionally, we highlight the significant role of WPS Office as a versatile and user-friendly alternative for document creation and management, ensuring efficiency and elegance in all your tasks. Mastering the "PROPER" function and exploring the benefits of WPS Office will significantly elevate your text formatting and document editing capabilities.

15 years of office industry experience, tech lover and copywriter. Follow me for product reviews, comparisons, and recommendations for new apps and software.