Remove Formatting from a Word Document


Formatting Frenzy!

Yikes! Did you create or inherit a document that has more font formats and colors than a box of crayons and you want it gone? There’s an app for that, so to speak!

Remove Regular Font Formatting

Microsoft Word, awesome as it is, packs a gaggle of formatting behind the scenes. Often that is not an issue unless you run into a situation where it gets in the way of inserting, exporting or pasting into another document or program.

What you need to do depends on how much you want to get rid of. If you received a file that contains different font styles, sizes and colors, etc., and you want it instantly reset to the default, just press CTRL + SPACEBAR. Presto! You are all set to start from scratch.

Remove Styles Formatting

Word has built-in styles that make formatting a sophisticated document quick and easy. However, they contain a lot of underlying formatting and CTRL SPACEBAR will not remove Style formatting. Styles live on the Home tab | Styles group and have their own formatting.

To remove Applied Styles within Word:

  • Click the More button at the end of the Styles group (Home tab)

  • Click Clear Formatting command at the bottom of the Style icons

  • Styles are now removed from all selected text.

If your document has a lot of varied formatting including Styles, the best way to ensure it is all stripped is to use a text editor, and get it done all at once.

Use Notepad to Remove ALL Formatting from a Document

The above fixes work great for superficial formatting but If you need to strip all formatting, you need to send the text to a text editor such as Notepad. This is an accessory program built into the Windows operating system (along with some other handy mini-programs such as WordPad, Paint, Calculator, and the popular Snipping Tool). Notepad is available in all versions of Windows, as are most of the other tools.

Steps to strip all formatting:

  1. Select desired text or CTRL A to select entire document
  2. Cut or Copy the selection to the Clipboard
  3. Open the Notepad accessory (just click on Start button and type “notepad” to display it at top of Search. Click it to open the program)
  4. Paste your Clipboard contents into the Notepad window

All formatting for your text is instantly removed. Copy and paste it back into Word and/or you could also save it as a text file.

Your document is now clean and lean and ready to be beautified!

Tip: If you will use this method on a regular basis, pin Notepad to the taskbar. Right click on the Notepad icon and choose Pin to taskbar, and it will stay there until you “unpin” it.

Did you get to try it? Let me know!

Want more information on Word Styles? See my post on streamlining your document with the amazing Styles!


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