Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Word 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Word, click here: Unwanted Styles.

Unwanted Styles

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated April 9, 2016)

Rhana asked for a way to remove unwanted styles from the Style drop-down list on the Formatting toolbar. There is no easy way to do this; in fact, some styles are included on the list by default. For instance, Normal and three Heading styles are always visible. If you have additional styles showing up which you know you don't use and should not be there, then the only successful way to remove the styles from the drop-down list is to effectively recreate the document. This is not quite as drastic as it sounds however; you can follow these general steps:

  1. Save your document in RTF format, but append the .TXT extension. Then close the file.
  2. Open the newly saved document file in a text editor (such as Notepad) so that you can see the RTF code. Here is a sample of the RTF code for a footer (note the definition of the style is contained between curly brackets):
  3. {\s242\tqc\tx4320\tqr\tx8640 \fs20\lang1033 \sbasedon0\snext242 footer;}
  4. Use the text editor's Find command to search for the unwanted style's name. Thus, if you wanted to get rid of Heading 5, you would search for "Heading 5".
  5. Delete all information between the brackets, as well as the brackets themselves, for the unwanted style.
  6. Save and close the file.
  7. Open the file in Word. Allow Word to convert the RTF file into a Word document file.
  8. Look in the Style drop-down list to verify that the unwanted styles are missing.
  9. Save the file as a Word document.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (100) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Word (Word 2007 and later) here: Unwanted Styles.

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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