How To Remove All Formatting in Microsoft Word

351343 How To Remove All Formatting in Microsoft Word

Removing all text formatting in Microsoft Word allows you to clear formatting you have applied and start fresh with a clean slate. This can be useful if you want to standardize formatting across a document or if you just want to undo a lot of formatting changes you have made.

Fortunately, Word provides several straightforward ways to remove text formatting, both for selected text and for an entire document.

Clear Formatting from Selected Text

To remove formatting from only a portion of text:

  1. Select the text you want to clear formatting from
  2. On the Home tab, click the Clear All Formatting button in the Font section Clear All Formatting button
  3. The selected text will be cleared of all direct formatting, restoring it to the default font and paragraph settings

Alternatively, you can use these handy keyboard shortcuts:

  • Ctrl + Space: Clears font/character formatting only
  • Ctrl + Q: Clears paragraph formatting only
  • Ctrl + Shift + N: Reapplies the Normal style, clearing all formatting

Make sure you select the text first before using these shortcuts.

Clear All Formatting in the Entire Document

To strip all custom text formatting from the entire document:

  1. Press Ctrl + A to select all text
  2. Click the Clear All Formatting button on the ribbon
  3. All text will now have the default Normal style applied

Or once again, you can use Ctrl + Shift + N after selecting all the text to apply the Normal style.

Remove Styles

If you have applied styles throughout your document, you may want to clear just the styles instead of all formatting:

  1. On the Home tab, expand the Styles gallery
  2. Click Clear All at the top of the pane
  3. All styles will be cleared from the document

This will preserve direct formatting applied to text while removing any styles.

Other Options

A couple other options for removing formatting include:

  • Format Painter: Select unformatted text, click Format Painter, then select the text with formatting you want to clear
  • Reapply the Normal style: Select the text and choose Normal from the Styles gallery to override existing styles

Tips for Removing Formatting

Here are some useful tips when clearing formatting in Word:

  • You may need to clear formatting from text boxes, headers, footers, and tables separately
  • If you cannot remove formatting, the document may be protected from changes
  • Use Ctrl + Z to undo clearing formatting if you make a mistake
  • Save a copy of the document before making major formatting changes


  • Use the Clear All Formatting button or keyboard shortcuts to remove text formatting
  • Ctrl + A, then Clear All Formatting strips all custom formatting
  • Clear styles instead of direct formatting to preserve some existing formatting
  • Other options include the Format Painter and reapplying the Normal style
  • Make sure document changes are not restricted if you cannot remove formatting

Removing formatting in Word gives you a fresh start when editing and formatting documents. Keep these simple techniques in mind next time you need to strip text formatting.

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