Law Ruler April 2024
Ready Set Scale 770
share TWEET PIN IT share share 0

Nuke Word Formatting and Start Over

Video: Three shortcut keys for fixing formatting disasters.

By Deborah Savadra

Collaborative editing and recycling text often result in formatting disasters. If you’ve ever pulled text from other documents into your current document — or you’ve let others edit them you’ve probably seen some real formatting nightmares.

Fortunately, it’s easy to get the text back on track with three shortcut keys you’ll want to keep on a sticky note next to your monitor.

Three Essential Shortcut Keys

1. First, if the text has the wrong font formatting — font mismatches, bold, underline or italics — select the text and press Ctrl+Space. That fixes character-level formatting while leaving paragraph-level formatting such as spacing and indentation intact.

2. If you’ve got the opposite problem weird indents, incorrect line spacing, or extra spaces before or after paragraphs place your cursor anywhere inside the paragraph and press Ctrl+Q. That removes paragraph-level formatting while leaving character-level formatting such as italics in place.

3. Pressing Ctrl+Shift+N returns selected text to Normal formatting (however the Normal Style is defined in your document).

You can also use the Clear All Formatting button in the Font section of the Home tab.

Easy Trick to Pick Up the Correct Formatting

Once all the wrong formatting is cleared out, you can use the Format Painter button in the Clipboard section of the Home tab to copy either character- or paragraph-level formatting from a correctly formatted section of your document.

To copy character-level formatting such as fonts, select the text you want to copy formatting from before pressing the Format Painter button. Then select the target text.

To copy paragraph-level formatting like indentation and line spacing, simply place your cursor anywhere within the to-be-emulated paragraph and press Format Painter, then click anywhere within the target paragraph.

Click here to read more of Deborah’s Microsoft Office tips.


Man at Laptop Scrubbing Word Doc with document Inspector

Illustration ©

Categories: Legal Technology, Videos
Originally published August 14, 2018
Last updated August 31, 2018
share TWEET PIN IT share share
Deborah Savadra Deborah Savadra

Deborah Savadra spends a lot of her time explaining technology to lawyers, mostly as editor and chief blogger at Legal Office Guru, which features Microsoft Office video tutorials and other content especially for legal professionals. Watch her quick tips videos here, and follow her on Twitter @legalofficeguru.

More Posts By This Author
MUST READ Articles for Law Firms Click to expand

Welcome to Attorney at Work!

Sign up for our free newsletter.


All fields are required. By signing up, you are opting in to Attorney at Work's free practice tips newsletter and occasional emails with news and offers. By using this service, you indicate that you agree to our Terms and Conditions and have read and understand our Privacy Policy.