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

Unwanted Styles

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated March 17, 2018)


Rhana asked for a way to remove unwanted styles from the Style drop-down list on the Formatting toolbar. There is no easy way to do this; in fact, some styles are included on the list by default. For instance, Normal and three Heading styles are always visible. If you have additional styles showing up which you know you don't use and should not be there, then the only successful way to remove the styles from the drop-down list is to effectively recreate the document. This is not quite as drastic as it sounds however; you can follow these general steps:

  1. Save your document in RTF format, but append the .TXT extension. Then close the file.
  2. Open the newly saved document file in a text editor (such as Notepad) so that you can see the RTF code. Here is a sample of the RTF code for a footer (note the definition of the style is contained between curly brackets):
  3. {\s242\tqc\tx4320\tqr\tx8640 \fs20\lang1033 \sbasedon0\snext242 footer;}
  4. Use the text editor's Find command to search for the unwanted style's name. Thus, if you wanted to get rid of Heading 5, you would search for “Heading 5”.
  5. Delete all information between the brackets, as well as the brackets themselves, for the unwanted style.
  6. Save and close the file.
  7. Open the file in Word. Allow Word to convert the RTF file into a Word document file.
  8. Look in the Style drop-down list to verify that the unwanted styles are missing.
  9. Save the file as a Word document.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (8522) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Unwanted Styles.

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. ...


Finding the Parent Folder

Do you need to figure out the name of the parent folder of whatever folder a worksheet is in? Believe it or not, this can ...

Discover More

Filtering for Comments

Excel makes it easy to filter a data table based on various values in that table. It isn't so easy to filter according to ...

Discover More

Displaying Table Gridlines

For those times when you remove the borders from your tables, Word provides a way that you can display non-printing ...

Discover More

The First and Last Word on Word! Bestselling For Dummies author Dan Gookin puts his usual fun and friendly candor back to work to show you how to navigate Word 2013. Spend more time working and less time trying to figure it all out! Check out Word 2013 For Dummies today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Using Hidden Styles

Using styles to format templates can save a lot of time and ensure consistency when working on several documents. Some ...

Discover More

Can't Find or Delete a Style

Using the shortcuts available in the Styles pane to select text can be very helpful. It may, however, be quite ...

Discover More

Viewing Your Custom Styles

If you develop a set of preferred styles, you may want to use those styles with a document you receive from someone else. ...

Discover More

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.


If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 9 + 6?

2018-03-19 13:51:54


Whoa! BTW, wouldn't you have to change txt back to rtf first?

2018-03-19 11:15:32

Susan Uttendorfsky

This is very useful to me. I frequently receive documents that were written in R2L format, and to add to the chaos, they've been opened and edited in various versions of Word and in various operating systems. Many times there are a ton of unused styles listed that were carried along from computer to computer. Some I can right-click and Delete, but some seem to be more deeply embedded and I can't delete them. I suspect this will work much better!

Susan Uttendorfsky
Adirondack Editing

2018-03-18 05:31:33

Ken Endacott

Jan-Christian. The macro that you quote comes from the tip:

However there is a big problem with this macro because the statement oStyle.Delete is slow and it can take around an hour if there are several dozen styles to delete. A very much faster command is OrganizerDelete. See the comments in the above tip for details.

2018-03-17 07:46:39


I usually do this by deleting the unwanted styles (and/or modifying/replacing them with the ones I prefer) and saving it as a Word template, which I can then apply as required to any document.

2018-03-17 07:13:22

Jan-Christian Lupander

Re Removing unwanted styles

This is what I have been using:

Sub Stylecleaner()
Dim oStyle As Style
For Each oStyle In ActiveDocument.Styles
'Only check out non-built-in styles
If oStyle.BuiltIn = False Then
With ActiveDocument.Content.Find
.Style = oStyle.NameLocal
.Execute FindText:="", Format:=True
If .Found = False Then oStyle.Delete
End With
End If
Next oStyle it's
End Sub

Note: I might well have picked up this macro, or at least the idea somewhere, so I make no claim to be the creator of it!

2018-03-17 04:54:30

Rhonda Bracey

Another quick method is to delete them via the Organizer. See this blog post of mine for details:


This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the ribbon interface (Word 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Newest Tips

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.