How to Get Rid of Hard Returns


A hard return is one that is always obeyed, not just inserted when a line of text fully fills up a row. Inserting a hard return in a Microsoft document is as easy as pressing RETURN; however, importing files can lead to hard returns that you may not want and aren't deleted with a mere tap of the DELETE key. Getting rid of them is an easy matter, but may take some trial and error of different methods. The method used for Word may or may not work in Excel. Here an additional approach is also provided for files imported to Excel.

In Word

  • Go to the View dropdown menu in Word.

  • Select Outline view.

  • Delete the hard returns where they show up.

  • Try the following if the above doesn't work. Go to the Edit drop-down menu, then select "Replace."

  • Hold down the Alt key and type 010 or 0010 (try both) or just type in ^p to enter a hard return into the "Search For" box.

  • Repeat the same procedure with 013 or 0013.

  • In the Replace With box, hit the delete key a few times. Alternately, enter a space.

  • Then press the "OK" button. The hard returns will be replaced.

In Excel

  • Find out what the character is that is appearing as a hard return by typing in an empty cell =CODE(RIGHT(A1)) if A1 is the cell in which the hard return appears on the far right.

  • Enter the number that appears into the following where the asterisk appears: =SUBSTITUTE(A1,CHAR(*)," "). This line will appear in a separate cell.

  • Copy the results and paste it using Paste Special and selecting Values to paste just the text.

Tips & Warnings

  • Advice for replacing hard returns in other software platforms can be found online by searching on the name of the software and "rid of hard returns."

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