How to Use PROPER Function in Google Sheets

The PROPER function in Google Sheets is useful if you want to capitalize words on a given text string.

Meaning, the PROPER function will help us convert texts into their proper case format.

The rules for using the PROPER function in Google Sheets are as follows:

  • Texts that are directly passed to the PROPER function need to be enclosed with quotation marks.
  • The argument can also be a cell reference containing the text that you want to be capitalized. 
  • The first letter in each word will be capitalized whereas the remaining ones will be converted to lower case.
  • Numbers and punctuation characters are not affected.

Let’s take an example.

Lucas is trying to fix some formatting issues of names and addresses submitted to his Google Form. See the first five entries he received below:

How to use PROPER function in Google Sheets

What Lucas has been trying to do is capitalize each entry. While he surely can do them manually, note that the examples above are just a few of the hundred entries

Lucky enough, Lucas knows the PROPER function. So, with a few clicks, he was able to fix the issue. See now his table:

How to use PROPER function in Google Sheets

Lucas applied the PROPER function to each name and address and it returned the capitalized format of them.

Watch out for a more advanced tutorial and examples on how you can use the PROPER function in the coming weeks. Be sure to subscribe to be notified. 

Awesome! Let’s begin getting to know more about our PROPER function in Google Sheets.

 

The Anatomy of the PROPER Function

So the syntax (the way we write) of the PROPER function is as follows:

=PROPER(text)

Let’s dissect this thing and understand what each of these terms means:

  • = the equal sign is just how we start any function in Google Sheets. It is how Google Sheets understand that we are asking it to either do computation or use a function.
  • PROPER() this is our PROPER function. It converts the provided text into the proper case format.
  • text is the only and required argument in the function. It is the text that should be converted to a proper case.

 

A Real Example of Using PROPER Function

Let’s take a look at the Google Form entries of Lucas below to see how the PROPER function is used in Google Sheets.

How to use PROPER function in Google Sheets

The PROPER function is pretty much straightforward. You have a text to be in proper case? Go ahead and pass it to the PROPER function and see the magic happens.

In the examples above, the texts to be converted are names and addresses, which are the data that are commonly required or need to be in proper case.

The PROPER function above used a cell reference, which contains the text to be capitalized.

Let’s take the first string value for example. It consists of the first name, ‘marvin’, and last name, ‘guzmant’, all in lower case format. Since the job of the PROPER function is to capitalize each word on a given string value, the first word ‘marvin’ becomes ‘Marvin’, whereas the second word ‘guzmant’ becomes ‘Guzmant’. Hence, the result in Capitalized Name column is ‘Marvin Guzmant’.

Note that you can also pass a direct text as an argument to the PROPER function. See the example below:

Just don’t forget to enclose them with quotation marks so that the PROPER function would know that you are passing a string value.

Like any other function, the PROPER function also processes an argument from a result of another function.

How to use PROPER function in Google Sheets

In the example above, the argument passed to the PROPER function is the resulting string of the CONCATENATE function.

Want to get to know more about the CONCATENATE function? Keep an eye out and be sure to subscribe to be notified as an article about it is underway.

Going back, the CONCATENATE function used above joined three items. These are the text in cell A2, a space, and the text in cell B2. Note that the texts in cells A2 and B2 are not in the proper case.

How to use PROPER function in Google Sheets

The resulting string is the text ‘roderick timbal’, which is the text that the PROPER function will then capitalize.

How to use PROPER function in Google Sheets

You may make a copy of the spreadsheet using the link I have attached below.

How to Use PROPER Function in Google Sheets

  1. Click on any cell to make it the active cell. For this guide, I will be selecting B2, where I want to show the result.

How to use PROPER function in Google Sheets

 

  1. Next, type the equal sign ‘=‘ to begin the function and then follow it with the name of the function, which is our ‘proper‘ (or ‘PROPER‘, not case sensitive like our other functions).

 

  1. Type open parenthesis ‘(‘ or simply hit Tab key to let you use that function.

How to use PROPER function in Google Sheets

 

  1. Now the exciting part! Let’s give our function its only argument, the text. You may pass constant data by typing the exact text after the parenthesis. Just don’t forget to enclose it with quotation marks (“”). In this case, type in ‘marvin guzmant’.

 

  1. Hit your Enter or Tab key. Cell B2 will now show you the capitalized format of the text provided.

How to use PROPER function in Google Sheets

 

  1. Notice that in this example, we provided the exact string value, constant, as the argument of our PROPER function. Alternatively, this constant can be a variable or simply a cell address containing your text.

 

 

  1. Edit the formula in cell B2 by changing the argument into the cell address, where your text to be capitalized is located. In this case, cell A2.

How to use PROPER function in Google Sheets

 

  1. Hit your Enter or Tab key again. Cell B2 will now show you the same result, which is the capitalized format of the text in cell A2.

 

  1. Copy the formula down to the remaining rows.

How to use PROPER function in Google Sheets

 
That’s pretty much it. You can now use the PROPER function in Google Sheets together with the other numerous Google Sheets formulas to create even more powerful formulas that can make your life much easier.

 

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