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 February 12, 2021)


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. ...


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What is 1 + 3?

2021-02-19 19:39:51


I'm working in a document with styles. I was using Apply Styles (Ctrl-Shfit-S) to add a style called "Mark's Comments" and accidentally added a style called "Mar" and applied that to some text.

I have my Styles Pane set to show "in use" and although "Mar" wasn't assigned to anything (I changed the text to Mark's Comments), it still appeared.

When I reverted to the base, it did disappear from the Style Pane, but when I used Apply Styles and started typing, "Mar" came up first.

I tried recreating it (by applying it again), then removed the underlying style and deleted it. Again, it disappeared from the Styles Pane, but not the Apply Styles window.

I tried closing Apply Styles, but it remained.

I finally had to close the document completely. It then disappeared from Apply Styles.

Just a comment in case someone else runs into this issue.

2021-02-13 10:52:47


Skip, not the statement in the tip that you cannot delete Word's built-in styles. You won't see a Delete option if you are trying to delete a built-in style.


2021-02-12 23:01:47


Can't find this option in MS 365. My choices in the dropdown menu don't show a "Delete." Am I doing something wrong?

2020-03-31 15:52:57


This does not work. I'm experiencing the same as Ross. I'm deleting a style I (accidentally) made, and it pops right up the next time I start up Word. So it cannot be deleted using this means.

2019-05-07 02:56:08

Bradley Kuss

{{fig}]Can I copy the Normal.dotm to a new .dotm file say Arial_10.dotm and then delete the style that are in normal.dotm from Arial_10.dotm?

2018-05-01 20:46:42


I have a template that has two Heading 8 (only one is listed but both appear in the 'Replace' style option) and it is definitely somewhere in the document even though it does not appear on the list of styles because I can't find it to remove but it is stuffing up my numbering.

i.e.: The Styles pane on the right only lists the Heading 8 I want but it's not starting at the right number and when I go into 'Replace' to find where the first one is to fix it, a second Heading 8 option appears on the Replace/Format/Style list. How can I get rid of it to fix my numbering?

(see Figure 1 below)

Figure 1. Replace Style Screen

2018-01-11 11:40:56


Hi, is there any way of removing a new numbering format I created for a style? I have deleted the style from the library, but the new numbering format I created I still available in the numbering library. So in the image you can see, how do I delete the x1. numbering list circled in red? I have so many I created and I can't clear out the ones I no longer need! Many thanks
(see Figure 1 below)

Figure 1. 

2017-01-03 15:13:44


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


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


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


You can also delete multiple styles at once using the 'Organizer'. See this blog post of mine for how: 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.

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