I am selling my macbook and want to reformat the hd before I sale it. I have Lion installed. Isn't there a way to reformat in Lion without having to use the original install disks that came with the macbook, which would be Snow Leopard.
You can not sell your MB with Lion on it (License is not transferable) and you should not sell it without a copy of the OS that was installed when the machine was purchased, contact Apple and obtain a set of replacement discs, then include them with the machine when you sell it.
I would install Snow Leopard rather than retain Lion. A buyer cannot redownload Lion or do a clean install of Lion without knowing your Apple ID and password. Better you should install Snow Leopard and let the buyer purchase their own copy of Lion.
Prepare Your Mac for Sale
Boot from the Snow Leopard Installer DVD. After the installer loads select your language and click on the Continue button. When the menu bar appears select Disk Utility from the Utilities menu. After DU loads select the startup volume from the left side list then click on the Erase tab. Set the format type to Mac OS Extended (Journaled) then click on the Options button. Select the one pass Zero Data option and click on the OK button. Then click on the Erase button.
Note: You can skip the Zero Data option if you are not concerned about removing sensitive personal data from the hard drive. If you choose to skip this part of the process then it is possible for others to recover data from the hard drive. The Zero Data procedure will prevent others from getting access to your personal information.
This process will take 30 minutes to several hours depending upon the size of the hard drive. After formatting has completed quit DU and return to the installer. Now complete the OS X installation. At the completion of the installation do not restart the computer. Instead just shut it off. The next user will be presented with the Setup Assistant when they turn on the computer just as it would if new out of the box.