Copy Text Formatting in Microsoft Word using the Format Painter or Keyboard Shortcuts

by Avantix Learning Team | Updated April 14, 2022

Applies to: Microsoft® Word® 2013, 2016, 2019, 2021 or 365 (Windows)

In Microsoft Word, you can copy text formatting quickly and easily using the Format Painter or keyboard shortcuts. You can copy character formatting only (such as font, size, and bold) or both character and paragraph formatting which would include alignment, indents and line spacing. In Word, a paragraph is anything with a hard return after it.

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To view hard returns or paragraph marks and other nonprinting characters in Microsoft Word:

  1. Click the Home tab in the Ribbon.
  2. Click Show/Hide ¶ in the Paragraph group. Paragraph marks, tabs, spacing and other nonprinting characters will display but will not print. Click the same command to hide the paragraph marks and other nonprinting symbols.

1. Copying text formatting using the Format Painter

The Format Painter is a great tool for copying formatting. It appears on the Home tab in the Ribbon in the Clipboard group:

Format painter in Word to copy formatting.

To copy text formatting using the Format Painter:

  1. Select the text with the formatting you want to copy. Select characters only (such as a word or words) if you want to copy character formatting. Select an entire paragraph if you want to copy character and paragraph formatting.
  2. Click the Format Painter on the Home tab in the Ribbon in the Clipboard group. If you want to copy formatting to multiple instances of text, double-click the Format Painter.
  3. Drag over the text to which you want to copy the formatting. If you drag over characters only, Word will copy character formatting. If you drag over an entire paragraph or paragraphs, Word will copy character and paragraph formatting.
  4. Repeat if necessary by dragging over other text to which you want to copy formatting (if you had double-clicked the Format Painter).
  5. To turn off the Format Painter, press Esc.

2. Copying text formatting using keyboard shortcuts

To copy text formatting using keyboard shortcuts:

  1. Select the text with the formatting you want to copy. Select characters only (such as a word or words) if you want to copy character formatting. Select an entire paragraph if you want to copy character and paragraph formatting.
  2. Press Ctrl + Shift + C.
  3. Drag over the text to which you want to copy the formatting. If you drag over characters only, Word will copy character formatting. If you drag over an entire paragraph or paragraphs, Word will copy character and paragraph formatting.
  4. Press Ctrl + Shift + V.
  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 for other instances of text.

3. Copying paragraph formatting only

To copy paragraph formatting only:

  1. Ensure that paragraph marks are displayed.
  2. Drag over the paragraph mark of the paragraph with the formatting you want to copy.
  3. Press Ctrl + C.
  4. Drag over the paragraph mark of the paragraph with the formatting you want to replace.
  5. Press Ctrl + V.
  6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 for other instances of text.

This article was first published on October 24, 2021 and has been updated for clarity and content.

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Summary
How to Copy Formatting in Word (3 Easy Ways with Shortcuts)
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How to Copy Formatting in Word (3 Easy Ways with Shortcuts)
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In Microsoft Word, you can copy text formatting quickly and easily using the Format Painter or keyboard shortcuts. You can copy character formatting only (such as font, size, and bold) or both character and paragraph formatting which would include alignment, indents and line spacing. In Word, a paragraph is anything with a hard return after it.
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Avantix Learning

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