How to Quickly and Easily Copy Formatting in Google Docs

616130 How to Quickly and Easily Copy Formatting in Google Docs

Formatting text in a document can be time consuming. However, Google Docs provides several easy ways to copy and paste text formatting to quickly style your document.

Use the Paint Format Tool

The Paint Format tool allows you to copy formatting from one text selection and apply it to another. Here’s how to use it:

  1. Select the text with the formatting you want to copy. This can be a few words, sentences, or entire paragraphs.
  2. Click the Paint Format icon in the toolbar. It looks like a paint roller.
  3. Select the text you want to apply the copied formatting to.
  4. The formatting is automatically applied.

To paste the copied formatting multiple times:

  • Double click the Paint Format icon to lock it.
  • Select additional text to apply the formatting to it.

You can also use keyboard shortcuts:

  • Ctrl + Alt + C (Windows/Chrome OS) or ⌘ + Option + C (Mac): Copy formatting
  • Ctrl + Alt + V (Windows/Chrome OS) or ⌘ + Option + V (Mac): Paste formatting

Copy Cell Formatting in Sheets

The Paint Format tool also lets you copy formatting from cells in Google Sheets:

  1. Select the formatted cells to copy.
  2. Click the Paint Format icon.
  3. Select the cells to apply the formatting to.

This copies text formatting, cell colors, borders, etc.

Note: Formulas don’t get copied over, only the cell formatting.

Use Keyboard Shortcuts

Google Docs has keyboard shortcuts to quickly apply common text formatting:

  • Bold: Ctrl + B
  • Italics: Ctrl + I
  • Underline: Ctrl + U
  • Strikethrough: Alt + Shift + 5

You can also use shortcuts to copy and paste formatting:

  • Copy formatting: Ctrl + Alt + C
  • Paste formatting: Ctrl + Alt + V

These shortcuts work on Windows, Mac, Chromebooks, etc.

Clear Formatting

To quickly clear text formatting, highlight the text and press *Ctrl + * (Windows/Chrome OS) or *⌘ + * (Mac). This removes bold, italic, underline, font changes, etc.

Copy Formatting with Autofill

The autofill handle in Google Docs and Sheets also lets you copy formatting:

  1. Select formatted text or cells
  2. Hover over the small blue square at the bottom-right corner of the selection
  3. When the cursor changes to a +, click and drag down/across to apply formatting

This even works between Docs and Sheets!

Use Templates for Consistent Formatting

Creating and applying templates in Google Docs lets you reuse styles:

  1. Format a document’s headings, text, etc.
  2. File > Templates > Save as template
  3. To use, File > Templates > Select template


Here are some examples of copying formats in Google Docs:

Copy Font Changes

To copy font family, color, size etc.:

  1. Select text formatted with the desired font
  2. Click the Paint Format icon
  3. Select text to apply the font to
  4. The font changes are copied over

Copy a Table Style

To quickly format an entire table:

  1. Select a nicely formatted table
  2. Click the Paint Format icon
  3. Select the table to copy styles to
  4. The table adopts the formatting such as colors, borders, alignment

Reuse Heading Styles

To maintain consistent heading formats:

  1. Apply desired formatting to Heading 1
  2. Highlight Heading 1
  3. Click the Paint Format icon
  4. Select other headings to match style

Copy Cell Borders

To duplicate borders from one cell to others:

  1. Select the cell with borders to copy
  2. Click the Paint Format icon
  3. Select cells to apply borders to
  4. The borders are copied over

Quickly Build a Template

To create a reusable template:

  1. Format headings, text, tables, etc as desired
  2. File > Templates > Save as template
  3. Name and describe the template
  4. To reuse, File > Templates > Select template


Copying and pasting text formatting in Google Docs is easy with tools like the Paint Format icon, keyboard shortcuts, autofill handle and templates.

Using these options to duplicate fonts, styles, cell formats and more saves a huge amount of time and effort. This lets you quickly create professional, polished documents, spreadsheets, and presentations.

Some key takeaways:

  • Use the Paint Format tool or shortcuts to copy and paste text formatting
  • Leverage templates to maintain reusable styles
  • Clear formatting with Ctrl + \ if things get messy
  • Try copying formats between Docs and Sheets using autofill

Take advantage of these great features to boost your productivity in Google Workspace!