Excel PROPER Function: Proper Capitalization, Use It!

The Excel PROPER Function is another Text manipulation function that will capitalize the first letter of each word in a string of text. It is yet another one of the most used functions that is great to know, when you need to create a title or simply need to perform this task.

Description of the Excel PROPER Function

The Excel PROPER Function capitalizes the first letter in a string of text and also any other letters in the text string that follow any character other than a letter. It also converts all other letters in the string of text to lowercase letters.

Excel PROPER Function:

Syntax of the Excel PROPER Function:

  • PROPER(text)
  • text (Required) - Text enclosed in quotation marks, a formula that returns text, or a reference to a cell containing the text you want to partially capitalize.


  • =PROPER("dr. strange") = Dr. Strange
  • =PROPER("BOOGIE MAN") = Boogie Man
  • =PROPER("Can't shouldn't WON'T") = Can'T Shouldn'T Won'T
  • =PROPER("rOdNeY daNGerFIelD") = Rodney Dangerfield
Excel PROPER Function

What's The Deal With The Highlighted Cells?

This is just to show that the Excel PROPER Function will work with cells that contain formulas that return text. In this case the Excel UPPER Function is used to fully capitalize the text in cell A6. The Excel PROPER Function, in cell B20, refers to the formula in cell B10 and not to the actual text in cell A6.

All Right Then What About The Apostrophe Issue?

I'm Glad I Asked! Umm .. You Asked!  ... Didn't you?      ðŸ˜›

​Just like it handles words with numbers or other symbols, Excel ignores the apostrophe and will capitalize the letter following it. So this is unfortunate when your text uses a lot of contractions, such as Can't, Won't, Shouldn't, Couldn't, Wouldn't and so on.

Download The Example Spreadsheet Here:

The Excel PROPER Function

Why use the Excel PROPER Function?

Rather than tediously capitalizing the first letter of each word yourself, the Excel PROPER Function does it for you quickly and almost accurately. It certainly saves time over the manual process. It's great for titles or headings or if you have a column full of names, that were entered using different variations of upper and lowercase letters.


If your goal is to be more efficient with Excel, then getting to know the most popular functions is certainly a great way to start. While you may not need this function as often as others, it does save you time and is therefore useful for its purpose.

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Joe Austin

Joe Austin is the founder of Potentials Unleashed. He is currently an IT Professional Manager in the Financial Industry and has been using computers since 1978. While mostly self-taught, he is proficient in several computing areas, such as Programming , Web Development, most Microsoft Office programs, Internet Marketing, Spyware / Malware Removal and even 3D Animation & Modeling.

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