Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365. 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

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated May 4, 2019)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365


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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, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365. 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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Comments

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What is one more than 0?

2022-10-15 18:28:22

Lew Delo

Mr. Wyatt,
Thank God for your service! Before finding Tip.Net for Word (I have version 2021), I spent a number of frustrating days trying to remove German formatting for quotes from an insert in a document. Microsoft does not make it clear or easy. Finally searched the web and found your discussion about how to clear all formatting (copy to Clipboard, to Notepad, back to Clipboard, to Word doc.) Thanks, again. Lew Delo


2019-05-23 14:05:09

STEVEN BENEFIELD

If you copy and paste, text only, in another Word document, does it also get rid of all formatting?


2019-05-04 21:29:09

George Sutton

One thing which bothers me from time to time in many blogs and posts is the use of the word "Highlight" to describe selecting text or other data. The correct word to use is "Select". Highlight and Select mean two totally different things.

To highlight means to use the highlighter tool and change the background colour of a piece of text. All it does is add colour. You cannot copy, delete or change font when you do this. It is the same as grabbing a highlighter pen and highlighting a passage in a book or other printed medium.

To Select means just that: you select some text so you can perform some action on it like copy, delete, change font and so on.

Cheers to all.


2019-05-04 10:32:48

Erik Eilertsen

I imagine an easier way (for me) would be to open an email and format it for plaintext then paste my copy into it. Then agree to the warning that you will lose all formatting? You now have your text in plaintext and can copy it back to wherever you want it and reformat it as you like


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