Tip of the week # 436
28 November 2014

Clear all formatting and styles from selected text (Microsoft Word)

Did you ever inherit a Word document where the formatting is so weird that you'd rather start from scratch? Or perhaps you made a pig's ear of it yourself? If so, simply clear all formatting and styles from your selected text.

Here's how:

  1. Select the text you want to reformat or simply press CTRL+A if it's the whole document. (See tip_50.html and tip_51.html if you are looking for more tricks and shortcuts for selecting blocks of text.)
  2. Click on the dialog box launcher in the lower right corner of the Styles group on the Home tab.
  3. Click on Clear All.

I know "Clear All" sounds a bit ominous, but don't worry. it's only your formatting that will be removed, leaving the normal, unformatted text.

Finally, you know I cannot help myself. here's a shortcut. Actually, here are two shortcuts. Press CTRL + SPACEBAR to remove all character formatting (such as bold, italics, manually applied fonts and font sizes) or CTRL + Q to remove paragraph formatting (such as bullets, numbering, line and paragraph spacing and indentation.) It won't affect formatting that is applied using Word's Styles.