IT for Donuts: how to copy formatting in Microsoft Word

By: John McGarvey

Date: 25 April 2014

IT for Donuts is our regular Friday feature where we explain a tech term or answer a question about business IT.

This week, see how to copy formatting from one piece of text to another in Microsoft Word.

What does copy formatting do?

The little-known but supremely-useful Format Painter tool in Word lets you select some text, then copy how that text is formatted across to another chunk of text.

It's a big timesaver when you're trying to work with text you've copied and pasted from different sources, or you're trying to get a messy document into some semblance or order.

How to copy text formatting

Here's how to copy formatting from one block of text to another:

1. Select the text that's formatted the way you want by clicking and dragging with the mouse

2. Click the Format Painter on the Microsoft Word ribbon. It'll look something like this:

Format Painter icon{{}}

(It might also be labelled Format Painter.) 

3. Find the text you want to format in the same way.

4. Highlight that text by clicking and dragging with the mouse

5. When you release the mouse button, the formatting of the text will change.

You should find that all formatting transfers, like text font, effects, size, colours, shading and spacing.

Previous IT for Donuts tips:

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