How To Remove All Formatting in Microsoft Word

There are actually a few ways to go about removing the formatting in a Microsoft Word document. It’s not uncommon to go a bit overboard on the customization when creating a Word document. If you have too many applied formatting changes that do not work, to avoid starting over, it may be far easier to simply clear all formatting from selected text. The way to do this can vary depending on which version of Microsoft Word you’re running.

How To Remove All Formatting in Microsoft Word

When using Microsoft Word, there is an overriding style attached to every paragraph, so any paragraph format changes made will also need changes done to the associated style.

Clearing All Formatting On Microsoft Word 2010

You can easily remove all of your formatting and save yourself time without manually mashing the undo option by following along.

  1. Open up the formatted document.
  2. Highlight all the text you wish to clear by holding down the left-click and dragging it across the formatted text. Alternatively, if you are having issues using the mouse you can hold down the Shift key while tapping the Right Arrow key to highlight the text. To select all text, press CTRL + A anywhere on the document.
  3. From the menu ribbon, click on the Home tab located to the right of the File tab.
  4. Within the Home tab, in the “Font” section, locate and click the Clear Formatting button which is an icon that appears with Aa and a diagonal eraser.

All of the text you previously selected will now become the default style that is standard with Word 2010. If you’re unsatisfied with how the default format appears, you can press Ctrl + Z to go back to the formatted text option.

Removing the Header Style Without Losing the Format

Sometimes you’re okay with the current formatting but the header just doesn’t belong. In order to change the header while maintaining the current formatting in Word 2010:

  1. Highlight the text.
  2. Right-click to open up the menu and select Paragraph.
  3. Locate “Outline Level” and change it to “Body Text”.

It really is that simple.

Again, for those with mouse issues, an alternative way to do this is to:

  1. Open the Paragraph dialog box by pressing ALT + O + P.
  2. Under the Indents and Spacing tab, TAB to the Outline Level drop-down box and select Body Text.
  3. Press Enter (or TAB to OK and press Enter).

Clearing All Formatting On Microsoft Word 2013+

Ridding yourself of the unwanted format in your Word 2013/16 document is very similar to that of the 2010 version. The only major difference is the appearance of the clear formatting icon. It will now have a single A along with a pink eraser running diagonally in the opposite direction.

However, if you jumped to this section and bypassed the 2010 run through, here is a short recap.

  1. Open your document of choice and click on the Home tab located to the right of the File tab at the top left.
  2. Next, highlight the text you wish to format using the left-click drag option with the mouse, holding Shift while tapping Right Arrow, or selecting all of the text with CTRL + A while inside the document.
  3. Within the Font section of the ribbon, click the icon for clear formatting, it looks like an A with an eraser through part of it.

All formatting that you’ve highlighted is now set to the default style for Microsoft Word 2013/16.

Clearing All Formatting Using the Styles Pane

  1. Select and highlight the text for which you want to clear formatting.
  2. Head to the Home tab and click the small arrow on the Styles section.
  3. The Styles pane should be displayed. Choose the Clear All option located at the top of the list.
  4. All style for the selected content will default to the Normal style.

Keep in mind that even when using Ctrl + A to highlight the content within your Word document, all content in text boxes, headers, and footers will need to be cleared of formatting separately.

If you are being prevented from clearing any formatting on a certain document then the document may be protected from any and all formatting changes. If this is the case, you’ll first need to acquire the password before being allowed to reformat any of the content.

Alternate Way to Clear All Formatting No Matter the Version of Word

When working with a highly formatted document but the above information is still a bit too confusing for you, here is a quick, surefire way to rid yourself of it:

  1. Highlight the text you wish to format.
  2. Either cut (Shift + Del) or copy (CTRL + C) the text. You can also right-click the highlighted text and select to either cut or copy from the drop-down provided.
  3. While in Windows, open up the Notepad application.
  4. Paste (CTRL + V) the highlighted text located on your clipboard into the Notepad. Notepad can only work with unformatted text and therefore will rid all current formatting and styles associated with the text pasted.
  5. Simply copy or cut the text in Notepad and paste it back into your Word document. The format will now be the default version.

Hopefully, the methods mentioned above proved successful in removing your unwanted formatting. If it didn’t work or you know of another method, then please leave a comment below.

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