Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, and 2013. If you are using an earlier version (Word 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Word, click here: Absolutely Getting Rid of Formatting.

Absolutely Getting Rid of Formatting

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated June 17, 2016)


If you are working with a document that is highly formatted, and you are looking for a quick and easy way to get rid of any and all formatting for a selection of text, here is a quick way to do it:

  1. Highlight your text selection.
  2. Cut or copy the selection to the Clipboard.
  3. In Windows, start the Notepad accessory.
  4. Paste the Clipboard contents (your selection) into the Notepad.

Since the Notepad accessory can only work with unformatted text, all formatting for your text selection is removed. You can then either save your selection as a text file, or copy it back to the Clipboard and paste it back into Word.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (7065) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Absolutely Getting Rid of Formatting.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...


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What is 5 + 9?

2016-06-17 17:56:41

Susan Dunlevy

Or use PureText, a wonderful little free program that achieves the same result in a lot less time and with a lot less effort. I've been using PureText for about 20 years, and I swear by it. It can be found at

2016-06-17 13:48:10

Lois E. Power

I believe it is easier to copy to clipboard, then hit paste special and paste as unformatted text. One less step.

2014-09-23 13:13:17

Dave Kinsella

This is to KPbICMAH: That was awesome! Worked a treat! Word continues to be a massive puzzle to me that I slowly put together. That was a huge piece of it for me.

I used to put it into facebook, which also did the same as putting it into notepad.

2013-08-23 11:37:36


Sounds like something I should try when re-doing leases that are formatted. It would be much easier than trying to type within the formatting.

2013-08-18 19:10:41

Ingrid Kennedy

... and you can click on Clear All Formatting in the styles list.

2013-08-17 19:49:09

Joan Thompson

I've been using Notepad for years especially when I want to copy information from a website. Word usually crashes with a large copy and paste html section, so I must "paste special" the selection into my Word document,and then format it to my liking. Since grahics were stripped from the section I copied and pasted into Notepad, I must go back to the website and individually copy the images I want into my doc. If a graphic is proprietary and won't allow it to be copied, Vista and Win7's Snipping Tool overcomes the problem. Be sure to format the graphic after it is inserted into your document so that it can be resized and moved to where you want it. Time consuming, maybe, but better than losing your document due to a crash and hoping it can be recovered.

2013-08-17 06:07:36

Theo Laan

I'm using something else. Cut the text you want to unformat (Ctrl X). Past it directly again (Ctrl V) and choose for paste as tekst. All formatting is gone!

2013-08-17 04:39:32


Would a select or a triple click of the selection bar(Ctrl+A), -> home tab's -> clear formatting icon (font group) work?

2013-08-17 04:23:51


Sounds kinda superfluous. Why not just select all (Ctrl-A) or part of the text you want to "unformat" and press Ctrl-Space, Ctrl-Shift-N to reset text and paragraph formattting?

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