Using the Format Painter with Editing Restrictions in Place

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated December 12, 2020)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365


Sue has the dubious honor of developing and maintaining Word templates used in the development of documentation packages for her company's contracted clients. Many of their authors just don't seem to understand the impact of manual changes outside of the template confines, so Sue started using the Restrict Editing tools (in particular, the Limit Formatting to Permitted Styles option). This helpfully constrains their authors to the permitted styles only and removes manual change options by way of graying out the appropriate tools in the ribbon. Several authors use the Format Painter tool (in an acceptable fashion), but this is one of those tools that is grayed out when the restrictions are applied. Sue wonders if there is any way she can access this tool while maintaining the style restrictions.

There is no way to exempt the Format Painter tool from the editing restrictions that can be imposed by Word. You can, however, attempt to work around the restrictions by creating your own version of the Format Painter tool.

The Format Painter runs the built-in command CopyFormat that executes the code Selection.CopyFormat. If the icon is greyed out, the command itself cannot be run but the code from within the macro can still be executed in a user written macro. Similarly, the Paste Format icon runs the PasteFormat macro that executes the code Selection.PasteFormat.

Therefore, the solution is to create two macros to mimic the commands. The macros can then be placed on the Quick Access Toolbar or in a customized group on the ribbon.

Sub FormatPainterMimic()
    Selection.CopyFormat
End Sub
Sub PasteFormatMimic()
    Selection.PasteFormat
End Sub

Note:

If you would like to know how to use the macros described on this page (or on any other page on the WordTips sites), I've prepared a special page that includes helpful information. Click here to open that special page in a new browser tab.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (12990) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365.

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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