How to remove unwanted formatting in Word - Image by Skentophyte from PixabaySometimes when you use a document that is updated by several people, they each decide to use different formatting. Sometimes it looks very similar to the formatting you started the document in, so you won’t necessarily notice straight away. Further down the line you may find slight misalignment or if you change your style settings some of the text won’t change to those new settings. This is far more common than you think. I have had many delegates on my course tell me that this is a nightmare for them. Well not necessarily! One simple fix is to follow the processes in this tip. There are many different ways you could attack this issue, depending upon what you are faced with and the results you require.

Once you have received the final version of the document save a copy. You can then use the styles you have either created or those default styles Microsoft has assigned.

But before you start on that I suggest that you first select the whole document and use the Clear Formatting command for the whole document. This sets the text in one style and shows as default normal text.

Clear Formatting

In the Styles section of the Home tab select the drop down arrow on the right.

Style dropdown button

This in turn will show you this list.

Clear Formatting setting

  • Select the Clear Formatting.

The whole document now is set to the default style of Normal which will be a good base to work from.

Now go through the document selecting the sections of text that need to be certain styles. If you use shortcut keys for your styles then this will be even quicker. How to set shortcut keys to a style is covered in my How to use styles in MS Word tip.

How to clear using “Tell me what you want to do”

There is another way of accessing Clear all formatting. Use the Tell me what you want to do tool at the end of the tabs.

Tell me what to do

  • Start by selecting the whole document or indeed parts that you wish to clear.
  • Type ” clear formatting” and this is the result you see.

Type Clear

  • Select @clear formatting or select from the list that pops out by “Clear”.

Clear List

So now when you receive a document with all sorts of formatting you can rest easy and clear the mess and make it as stylish as you require. Every pun intended!

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