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: Deleting a Large Number of Styles.

Deleting a Large Number of Styles

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated October 30, 2021)

1

Daniel has a problem that many people may face from time to time. He gets documents from others in his office, and they often contain a large number of styles that he needs to delete. Deleting a large number of styles one at a time is a real pain, so he is looking for a way to delete a large number of styles all at once.

The easiest way to do this is to use a behind-the-scenes tool called the Organizer. Follow these steps:

  1. Display the Home tab of the ribbon.
  2. Click the small icon at the bottom-right of the Styles group. Word displays the Styles task pane at the right side of the window.
  3. Click the Manage Styles button at the bottom of the task pane. (This is the third of the three buttons available. Hover the mouse pointer over the buttons and you can easily locate the Manage Styles button.) Word displays the Manage Styles dialog box.
  4. Click the Import/Export button at the bottom-left of the dialog box. Word displays the Organizer. The Styles tab should already be visible. (See Figure 1.)
  5. Figure 1. The Styles tab of the Organizer.

  6. The left side of the dialog box should be a list of styles in the current document. (You can see the document name just below the list of styles.)
  7. Build a selection set of styles you want to delete. You do this by clicking the first style and then holding down the Ctrl key as you click on other styles.
  8. Once you've selected the set of styles to delete, click the Delete button.
  9. Delete more styles, if desired.
  10. Close the Organizer when done.

Remember that built-in styles (such as Normal) cannot be deleted from the list of styles.

One final note: I've had some people tell me "I want to delete all styles in a document because I don't use them and I want none of them there." The short answer to this is that you can't do it. Why? Because everything in Word (and I do mean everything) is based on styles. Whether you want to use styles or not, they are still there, in the background, and cannot be done away with. Thus, my comment about the inability to delete built-in styles.

Understanding that styles are intrinsic to how Word works, the better solution is to learn how to work with styles so you can format your documents quicker, easier, and more consistently. This takes time, to be sure, but you'll be less frustrated in the long run if you invest that time. Here's a good place you can start:

https://tips.net/T9627

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (9653) 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: Deleting a Large Number of 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. ...

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What is two less than 7?

2022-03-16 11:06:47

Rachyl

Thanks for the tip! Do you know if there is a way to remove all styles from a document that are not a part of the applied template? For context, I develop templates for proposal writers, and they will often paste in text from other documents... complete with their styles. It's been an uphill battle to get them to learn to paste unformatted text, and when the documents come to me for cleanup there are often multiple unwanted styles included. It would be great if I had a way to remove them all, leaving only the ones that actually belong in the template. I know I'd still have to apply the correct styles to their text, of course... but then at least the Styles list would only have the *right* styles in it!


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