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: Deleting a Large Number of Styles.

Deleting a Large Number of Styles

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated August 10, 2020)


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

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 Office 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 one more than 1?

2021-04-30 10:11:32


I have a template document that have a multi level list with the first 4 levels with the same numbering format (1., 1.1., 1.1.1., On the fifth level I change to lower case letters (a.). I have created individual styles without numbers and a numbering style that applies the numbers.

Every time I open the document, the place where the "a." should be, it is highlighted in black. I can use the ctrl+shift+s command to reapply the style which work until I open the document again.

As mentioned, this is a template that other non-MS Word literate people (i.e. Engineers) use, and I cannot instruct them to use the ctrl+shift+s.

I'm pretty sure it is an issue with the style, in the numbering style assigned it to a different numbering level and the issue followed it to the new numbering.

Any help would be appreciated.

2021-01-12 18:25:37

Craig Pearson

I got stopped at Step 2:

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.

I don't see a "Styles group" in the Home tab of the ribbon. Nor do I see anything about "Manage Styles" anywhere in the Styles pane.


2017-09-29 22:06:32

Ken Endacott


The following macro will delete all custom styles in the document. it uses OrganizerDelete rather than painfully slow sty.Delete

Sub DeleteCustonStyles()
Dim sty As Style
Dim docPath As String
Dim j As Long
Dim k As Long
docPath = ActiveDocument.Path & "\" & ActiveDocument.Name
j = ActiveDocument.Styles.Count
For k = j To 1 Step -1
Set sty = ActiveDocument.Styles(k)
If Not sty.BuiltIn Then
Application.OrganizerDelete Source:=docPath, _
Name:=sty.NameLocal, Object:=wdOrganizerObjectStyles
End If
Next k
MsgBox "All custom styles deleted"
End Sub

2017-09-28 11:05:05



All I see there is how to delete unused styles. I want to delete all styles, used and unused, except the built in ones. I receive hundreds of documents created by various individuals which all have different styles and I need to get rid of them and just have the built in styles remaining. This would be easy if I just created a macro to delete the styles and then format the document the way I need it formatted (Times New Roman, Size 9, etc.). Help?

2017-09-28 03:08:15

Ken Endacott


Note the comments that discuss how to overcome the very slow execution time of the macro given in the tip.

2017-09-27 12:04:16


Can this action be simplified into a macro?

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