How to Convert Text to Upper, Lower, or Proper Case in Excel

An excel table with two columns.
Ted French

When text data is imported or copied into an Excel worksheet, sometimes the words have incorrect capitalization or case.

To correct such problems, Excel has a number of specialized functions such as:

  • the LOWER function--which converts text to all lower case (small letters).
  • the UPPER function--which converts text all to upper case (capital letters).
  • the PROPER function--which converts text to title form by capitalizing the first letter of each word.

UPPER, LOWER, and PROPER Functions' Syntax and Arguments

A function's syntax refers to the layout of the function and includes the function's name, brackets, comma separators, and arguments.

The syntax for the UPPER function is:

= UPPER ( Text )

The syntax for the LOWER function is:

= LOWER ( Text )

The syntax for the PROPER function is:

= PROPER ( Text )

Text = the text to be changed. This argument can be entered into the dialog box as:

  • A cell reference
  • A word or words enclosed in quotation marks
  • A formula that outputs text

Using Excel's UPPER, LOWER, and PROPER Functions

In the image above, the UPPER function located in cells B1 and B2 is used to convert the data in cells A1 and A2 from lower case to all uppercase letters.

In cells B3 and B4, the LOWER function is used to convert the capital letter data in cells A3 and A4 to lower case letters.

And in cells B5, B6, and B7, the PROPER function corrects the capitalization problems for the proper names in cells A5, A6, and A7.

The example below covers the steps for entering the UPPER function in cell B1, but, since they are so similar in syntax, these same steps work for the LOWER and PROPER functions as well.

Entering the UPPER Function

Options for entering the function and its arguments into cell B1 include:

  1. Typing the complete function= UPPER ( B1 ) into cell C1.
  2. Selecting the function and arguments using the function's dialog box.

Using the dialog box to enter the function often simplifies the task as the dialog box takes care of the function's syntax - entering the function's name, the commas separators, and brackets in the correct locations and quantity.

Point and Click on Cell References

No matter which option you choose for entering the function into a worksheet cell, it is probably best to use point and click to enter any and all cell references used as arguments.

  • Point and click involves using the mouse pointer to click on a cell reference in order to enter it into a function.
  • Doing so helps to eliminate errors caused by typing in the wrong cell reference.

Using the UPPER Function Dialog Box

Listed below are the steps used to enter the UPPER function and its argument into cell B1 using the function's dialog box.

  1. Click on cell B1 in the worksheet--this is where the function will be located.
  2. Click on the Formulas tab of the ribbon menu.
  3. Choose Text from the ribbon to open the function drop down list.
  4. Click on UPPER in the list to bring up the function's dialog box.
  5. In the dialog box, click on the Text line.
  6. Click on cell A1 in the worksheet to enter that cell reference as the function's argument.
  7. Click OK to complete the function and close the dialog box.
  8. In cell B1, the line of text APPLES should appear all in upper case.
  9. Use the fill handle or copy and paste to add the UPPER function to cells B2.
  10. When you click on cell C1 the complete function = UPPER ( B1 ) appears in the formula bar above the worksheet.

Hiding or Deleting the Original Data

It is often desirable to keep the original data, and one option for doing so is to hide those columns containing the data. 

Hiding the data will also prevent the #REF! errors from filling the cells containing the UPPER and/or LOWER functions if the original data is deleted.

If you wish to remove the original data, follow the steps below to convert the function results into just values.

  1. Copy the names in column B by dragging down the column and pressing Ctrl + C.
  2. Right-click cell A1.
  3. Click Paste Special > Values > OK to paste the correctly formatted data back into column A without the formulas.
  4. Select column B.
  5. Right-click the selection, and pick Delete > Entire Column > OK to remove the data containing the UPPER/LOWER function.