Tip of the week # 622
19 September 2020

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

Have you ever inherited a file where someone has tinkered so much with the formatting that you might as well start from scratch? As you probably know there are various ways to clear the formatting of your document ...

In Microsoft 365 there is a prominent Clear All Formatting button in the Font group on the Home tab, which in previous versions is a bit more hidden under the More button in the Styles group or accessible from its dialog box launcher, as described in tip 436. (tip_436.php)

But if you like using keyboard shortcuts you can clear all the formatting from the selection, leaving only the plain text. Check out the following and find your favourite.

Here's how:

  1. CTRL + SHIFT + Z or
  3. CTRL + SHIFT + N or
  4. CTRL + Q

For me CTRL + SHIFT + N and CTRL + Q don't work in Word 365 so I've embraced CTRL + SHIFT + Z as it makes me think of a more powerful version of the go-back-to-where-I-was-happy (aka Undo) keyboard shortcut CTRL + Z.

Related tips

  1. Clear all formatting and styles from selected text - tip_436.php
  2. Undo several actions in one go - tip_522.php
  3. Reveal, select and modify all text with similar formatting - tip_498.php
  4. Applying and modifying Heading Styles to titles and subtitles - tip_423.php
  5. See what styles are applied in a document - tip_575.php


* Unless stated otherwise, these tips were written for Microsoft Office 2010.