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Format Painter Shortcut

Many people use the Format Painter tool to copy formatting from one place to another in a document. Unfortunately, using the Format Painter requires that you take your hands off the keyboard and use the mouse—a process that is anathema to many people who would rather use the keyboard for all their tasks.

In reality, Word does provide simple keyboard commands for copying and pasting formatting. The shortcut for copying formatting is Ctrl+Shift+C and the shortcut for pasting is Ctrl+Shift+V.

If you place the insertion point into a paragraph or select the entire paragraph, then Ctrl+Shift+C copies the formatting of the entire paragraph. This includes Bullets & Numbering, spacing, indentation, style, character formatting that's shared by most characters, etc. If you select a short text selection (perhaps one or two words) without selecting the end-of-paragraph marker, then Ctrl+Shift+C only copies character formatting (bold, italic, underline, etc.).

The keyboard commands to copy and paste formatting are actually more powerful than the Format Painter tool. With the keyboard, you can copy formatting, perform numerous other actions, and still paste the formatting anywhere into an open document as many times as you want. So long as you don't copy different formatting, the same formatting will be ready to paste for the entire Word session. You can think of it as copying formatting to the Clipboard, even though the Windows Clipboard really isn't involved.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (193) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003.

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Comments for this tip:

Gina    05 Oct 2016, 03:41
Hi, I am in the process of formatting citations but every so often have to reintegrate new references into the main list. For some reason in merging these new ones into alphabetical order by surname using the A-Z, the journal title which should in italics is changed back to normal text. If I use the format key stroke as discussed on your webpage, I don't know how to ensure that however long the author part and the title , that the journal title will become italicised as would be in the one I copy. I have about 150 references at least so a quick way to get the formatting to APA6 is my goal. Please advise if this is possible
Marmike    23 Apr 2016, 10:18
Thanks so much. On my Mac the format painter doesn't always work but this method does. So far anyway.
Vandit    13 Jan 2016, 14:03
Thanks!!! This is very helpful.
Andrew    17 Dec 2015, 04:49

On a Mac, use:

 Shift + Cmd + C, then,
 Shift + Cmd + V.
Jenny    11 Sep 2015, 13:32
Thank you very much. I am looking for this hotkey for a long time. Finally...
Very appreciate your sharing!
Jason Wyatt    07 Sep 2015, 06:19
Great tip, just what I've been looking for. Thanks for sharing it.
Sri    21 Aug 2015, 08:59
Wow.. thanks a lot .This saved me...
Brian    28 Jul 2015, 08:58
For some reason, Format Painter isn't assigned Ctrl+Shft+V and I need to assign it. Anyone know where this can be found in the Customize Ribbon sections? I can't find it there.
Lee    10 Jun 2015, 21:36
This made me so happy.
Salim    29 Mar 2015, 07:54
Thank you!
Kishore Nandipati    19 Mar 2015, 14:37
Very useful.Thank you!
Snehal    23 Feb 2015, 03:08
Amazing Tip!! didn't know about it at all!
Jatin goyal    29 Nov 2014, 06:34
Really works and I need it since past
Mable    23 Oct 2014, 22:13
Great tip, exactly what I needed! Tks a lot.
Sabawoon Pasoon    30 Sep 2014, 00:53
I am very thankfull to you dears
Your Website is very usefull.

Thank you so much
R. Sriram    28 Jul 2014, 03:19
Worked like a charm.. Thanks a lot!!
Ricardo Freitas    24 Jun 2014, 02:57
Great tip! Thanks a lot :)
CerTech    02 Jun 2014, 12:24
What if these short-cuts don't work, this only occurs in Word 2010, Outlook, Excel, Powerpoint work fine.
Neerav Galathia    06 Jan 2012, 05:30
Dear Mr. Wyatt,

Many thanks for such a helpful information.

I liked this site and will visit frequently to solve the problems related to word file.

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