Clear or Remove Text Formatting in a Word Document

by Avantix Learning Team | Updated October 3, 2022

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

You can use keyboard shortcuts or the Ribbon to clear formatting in a Word document. Since there are two types of text formatting (character and paragraph), you can choose to clear all formatting or just character or paragraph formatting. If you want to clear formatting for text where a specific style has been applied, you'll need to select the text that uses the style first and then remove the formatting.

In Word, when you apply formatting to selected text using commands in the Font or Paragraph group on the Home tab in the Ribbon, you are applying direct or manual formatting in addition to the style applied to the text (the Normal style by default).

Note: Buttons and Ribbon tabs may display in a different way (with or without text) depending on your version of Word, the size of your screen and your Control Panel settings. For newer versions of Word, Ribbon tabs may appear with different names.

Recommended article: 14 Microsoft Word Shortcuts to Quickly Select Text

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Clear formatting from selected text using keyboard shortcuts

To clear formatting from selected text using keyboard shortcuts:

  • Press Ctrl + Spacebar to clear character formatting only (such as bold, font and font size) from selected text.
  • Press Ctrl + Q to clear paragraph formatting only (such as indents and line spacing) from selected text.
  • Press Ctrl + Shift + N to reapply the Normal style to selected text.

If you want to select the entire document first, press Ctrl + A to select all and then you can use these shortcuts.

Clear formatting from selected text using the Ribbon

To clear formatting using the Clear Formatting command in the Ribbon:

  1. Select the text with the formatting you want to remove.
  2. Click the Home tab in the Ribbon.
  3. In the Font group, click Clear All Formatting. This will remove both character and paragraph formatting and return the text to the Normal style.

Clear All Formatting appears on the Home tab in the Ribbon in the Font group (as an A with an eraser):

Clear All Formatting command in the Ribbon in Word.

Clear all formatting in a Word document

To clear all text formatting in a Word document:

  1. Click in a paragraph in the document and press Ctrl + A to select all. This will select the text in the document but not text in headers, footers, text boxes, shapes or SmartArt.
  2. Click the Home tab in the Ribbon.
  3. In the Font group, click Clear All Formatting.

Clear all formatting from paragraphs using the Normal style

You may not want to clear formatting from your entire document (for example, if you are using heading styles for headings). In this case, you could select all paragraphs using the Normal style and clear formatting.

To select paragraphs using the Normal style and clear formatting:

  1. Click in a paragraph using the Normal style.
  2. Click the Home tab in the Ribbon.
  3. In the Styles gallery, right-click Normal. A drop-down menu appears.
  4. Click Select All.
  5. Click the Home tab in the Ribbon.
  6. In the Font group, click Clear All Formatting. This will remove both character and paragraph formatting and return the text to the Normal style. You can also press Ctrl + Shift + N.

The context menu appears when you right-click Normal in the Styles gallery:

Context menu that appears when you right-click the Normal Style in the Styles gallery.

You can also select other paragraphs using specific styles in the Styles gallery and reapply the style by clicking the style again in the gallery.

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Summary
How to Clear Formatting in Word (with Shortcuts)
Article Name
How to Clear Formatting in Word (with Shortcuts)
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You can use keyboard shortcuts or the Ribbon to clear formatting in a Word document. Since there are two types of text formatting (character and paragraph), you can choose to clear all formatting or just character or paragraph formatting. If you want to clear formatting for text where a specific style has been applied, you'll need to select the text that uses the style first and then remove the formatting.
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Avantix Learning

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