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

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated October 30, 2021)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365


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:

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. ...


Removing Comment Brackets for Printing

How to remove the brackets indicating commented text before printing your Word document.

Discover More

Recording a Macro

One of the most common ways of creating macros is to use Excel's macro recorder. This tip shows how easy it is to use the ...

Discover More

Forcing a Worksheet to be Protected Again

Excel allows you to protect your worksheets so they can only be changed as you want to have happen. If you unprotect a ...

Discover More

Learning Made Easy! Quickly teach yourself how to format, publish, and share your content using Word 2013. With Step by Step, you set the pace, building and practicing the skills you need, just when you need them! Check out Microsoft Word 2013 Step by Step today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Preserving Style Formatting when Combining Documents

Insert one document into another and you may not get the results you expect. Here's why, along with what you can do about it.

Discover More

Making Sure Styles Do Not Update Automatically

One of the features of Word that can cause some problems is one that allows styles to be automatically updated based upon ...

Discover More

Understanding Styles

Styles are a key concept in Microsoft Word. If you understand styles, you will find it much easier to use Word effectively.

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}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) 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 seven minus 1?

2024-02-19 07:13:29


@GFIN Sunny - The problem is, some of those styles *are* being used (wrongly) in the document. Our writers are supposed to stick to the styles provided in the template, but sometimes they paste chunks of text, including formatting, from other documents.

(Restricting formatting is not a viable option. I asked. But we do want people to be able to bold/italicize text, and not everyone knows how to use styles, and ughhhh. *grin*)

2024-02-19 01:54:44

GFIN Sunny

Thanks for free and useful info.
Does it make sense to remove Styles that are not being used in This Document? This alleviates scrolling thru a long list.

2024-02-16 01:14:34


I have found that I can collect the styles I want in normal.dotm. Then when I get a file with all kinds of junk styles in them, I can select them all in organizer, delete them, then select all from normal.dotm and copy them to file to be formatted. I have to reapply styles, but that task is now much easier since I don’t have to wade through all the junk styles.

2022-03-16 11:06:47


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!

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.


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.