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

Deleting Styles

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated September 12, 2015)

9

As you work with styles in Word, there may come a time when you want to delete a style you previously defined. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Display the Home tab of the ribbon and then click the small icon at the bottom-right of the Styles group. Word displays the Styles task pane.
  2. In the list of styles shown in the pane, hover the mouse pointer over the style you want to delete. A down-arrow appears at the right side of the style name.
  3. Click on the down-arrow that appeared in step 2. Word presents you with a list of actions you can take.
  4. Choose either the Revert To Base Style option or the Delete option from the list of actions. You will be asked to confirm your action; click on Yes.
  5. To delete other styles, repeat steps 2 through 4.
  6. When you are done, close the Styles task pane.

You cannot delete styles that are predefined in Word. If you select these styles, the Delete option is not available in step 3.

Note that in step 4 there are two possible options you can use to actually delete the style. If the style is based on an underlying style, then you can only "revert" the style. This means that all the text that uses the style you are deleting is changed to the underlying style for the style you are deleting. If there is no underlying style, then you have the option to actually delete the style.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (10225) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Deleting 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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Quickly Removing a Toolbar Button

Need to remove a toolbar button, but don't want to go through the hassle of displaying the Configure dialog box? You can make ...

Discover More

Finding Wayward Links

Combining workbooks that have cross-links to each other can offer some special challenges. This tip examines how you can get ...

Discover More

Replacing Only Whole Words in Excel

Excel's Find and Replace capabilities are handy, but they aren't as full-featured as those in Word. One shortcoming is the ...

Discover More

Create Custom Apps with VBA! Discover how to extend the capabilities of Office 2013 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Access) with VBA programming, using it for writing macros, automating Office applications, and creating custom applications. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2013 today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Reapplying Styles Seamlessly

Styles are a very powerful feature in Word, as they allow you to consistently apply complex formatting throughout a document ...

Discover More

Reformatting a Document with Messed-Up Styles

If there are lots of hands that touch a document, there are lots of ways those hands can mess up the document. You may be ...

Discover More

Quickly Copying Styles

You can easily use regular editing techniques to copy styles from one document to another. Here's how to make quick work of ...

Discover More
Subscribe

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

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

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 4 + 1?

2017-01-03 15:13:44

Erica

Yes, ugh - I've been hoisted on my own petard through the use of the Style-editing feature. Somehow, in 2015, I edited the "Normal" style template such that every single new document I open now defaults to a wretched and ill-defined OUTLINE template. Arrgh!!


2016-11-16 16:05:27

Digmen1

Yes, I agree, this whole template/styles area is very flakey and buggy.
In theory it would be great!
There needs to be an easy way to delete a style in a personal template that you set up so it is no longer appears in every document that you created with this template!


2016-10-24 13:52:26

Khanh nguyen Huy

I have known many tips from this website, thank you so much !


2016-06-13 10:31:14

Ellie Lampkin

Do you have any books on Styles. I have tried so many times to use this feature and failed. Thank you.


2016-01-27 15:13:41

Worked For Me

Make sure, in the "Organizer," that you are deleting styles from the normal.dotm column!


2016-01-27 15:11:45

Not Helpful

Previously defined styles appear in new documents, and there is no apparent way to get rid of them. You can delete them for a given document you're currently working on, but not permanently, which is really want someone wanting to delete a defined style wants. Your tip amounts to walking through how to right click and hit "delete," which is remarkably unhelpful for such an aggravating mess as trying to permanently alter Word templates.

The style reappears in new documents even when using the "Organizer." Microsoft has consistently had problems with revisions to the normal template not being retained, and after a decade+ of this, I'm really, truly sick of it.


2016-01-08 17:50:06

Ross

This fix does not work. When Word is closed and reopened, the style is right back in the styles gallery. My concerns do not reference a "document", I an only concerned with deleting a style from Word never to see it again.


2015-09-14 09:22:54

Peter Zavon

This may turn out to be useful for me, but I note that Step 2 does not work as described on my system, which is Word 2010. Hovering over the style does nothing. I have to right-click on the style name to see a list of functions including the down arrow, which is associated with a "Modify" command.


2015-09-12 04:59:39

Rhonda

You can also delete multiple styles at once using the 'Organizer'. See this blog post of mine for how: http://cybertext.wordpress.com/2010/01/28/word-remove-unwanted-styles-quickly/. This technique works in Word 2010 too, and I would expect Word 2013 as well, though I haven't tested it there. It's a lifesaver when your doc has heaps of styles imported from other docs.


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
Subscribe

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.