I am recently working on a project where there are some many different formats of telephone numbers in one column that I needed to clean it up. Well, I found a site called ExcelJet that supplied the formula called Substitute and the explanation.

### How this formula works

The formula runs from the inside out, with each SUBSTITUTE removing one character.

The inner most SUBSTITUTE removes the left parentheses, and the result is handed to the next SUBSTITUTE, which removes the right parentheses, and so on.

Whenever you use the SUBSTITUTE function, the result will be text. Because you can’t apply a number format to text, we need to convert the text to a number. One way to do that is to add zero (+0), which automatically converts numbers in text format to numbers in numeric format.

Finally, the “Special” telephone number format is applied (column D).

### White space trick for better readability

When nesting multiple functions, it can be difficult to read the formula and keep all parentheses balanced. Excel doesn’t care about extra white space in a formula, so you can add line breaks in the formula to make the formula more readable. For example, the formula above can be written as follows:

=SUBSTITUTE(

SUBSTITUTE(

SUBSTITUTE(

SUBSTITUTE(

SUBSTITUTE(

A1,

“(“,””),

“)”,””),

“-“,””),

” “,””),

“.”,””)

Note that the cell appears in the middle, with function names above and substitutions below. Not only does this make the formula easier to read, it also makes it easier to add and remove substitutions.

Just remember that you have to copy the new results in a blank column as Paste Values Only!!

You can use this same trick to make nested IF statements easier to read as well.

Thank You ExcelJet!