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: Absolutely Getting Rid of Formatting.

Absolutely Getting Rid of Formatting

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated July 26, 2014)

7

If you are working with a document that is highly formatted, and you are looking for a quick and easy way to get rid of any and all formatting for a selection of text, here is a quick way to do it:

  1. Highlight your text selection.
  2. Cut or copy the selection to the Clipboard.
  3. In Windows, start the Notepad accessory.
  4. Paste the Clipboard contents (your selection) into the Notepad.

Since the Notepad accessory can only work with unformatted text, all formatting for your text selection is removed. You can then either save your selection as a text file, or copy it back to the Clipboard and paste it back into Word.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (167) 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: Absolutely Getting Rid of Formatting.

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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Preventing a Frame when Converting a Table to Text

Tables, in Word, can either be inline with the rest of your text or the text can wrap around the table. If you have wrapping ...

Discover More

Moving Comment Background Pictures to Cells

When formatting comments, you can use a graphic as a background for the comment box. If you later want to move this graphic ...

Discover More

Spotty Recalculation

Does your worksheet or workbook not always recalculate like you expect? If so, then some of the ideas in this tip may help ...

Discover More

Do More in Less Time! Are you ready to harness the full power of Word 2013 to create professional documents? In this comprehensive guide you'll learn the skills and techniques for efficiently building the documents you need for your professional and your personal life. Check out Word 2013 In Depth today!

More WordTips (menu)

Fixing Mismatched Bullets and Numbers

When you format bulleted lists or numbered lists, you may be surprised if some of the bullets or numbers don't match the ...

Discover More

Setting the Wrapping Default for Objects

Want to have objects such as text boxes and shapes always appear using some formatting you like? Here are some ideas on ...

Discover More

Lines that Don't Change When You Type

Create a form in Word and you will invariably be faced with the need to places fill-in-the-blank lines in the document. If ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 8Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 4 + 7?

2017-08-02 12:54:10

Kenzie

Thank you. So. Much.


2017-08-01 14:16:56

Ramona

Thank you!!!

Your "How to get rid of formatting" helped save a document taken over by some kind of demons in the night, who stacked all the characters over to the left margin to render it illegible! :{

After Ctrl Pasting it into Notebook, and Ctrl Pasting it into a new document that used the Heading 1 on Home ribbon option, it worked. (Whereas the Normal option did more of the same craziness!)

I then reduced font size etc. to get it similar to original.

Thanks again.


2015-05-20 18:49:36

anne

Anne
and
mary
and
Peter
want
to
go
to
the
pictures

this is an example of text I took from the internet except that here were over 200 lines,each read as a new paragraph i have tried above but it still remains a new line for every word. I am working on word 2013. I have used find and replace paragraph mark which works but does not clear all formatting.


2015-05-01 12:13:32

Michelle R. Gould

Hi, Allen. I want to thank you for this solution. I manage public FB pages, and when I curate quotes from websites and paste them into a Word doc, they retain the link to the site. Your strategy was the only way I've found to remove it. You saved me a lot of time and I wanted to take the time to tell you how much I appreciate it.
All My Best,
MRG


2014-11-29 15:11:20

JeanE Logan

Good explanation. This also works for WordPad.

Now can all of these steps be put into a macro?


2014-07-26 13:14:49

Ang

I have Word 2003.
Highlight the text, click on the double A/A symbol - Extreme left on formatting line.
Click on 'Clear Formatting' in the Styles and Formatting box that appears.
Job done.


2014-07-26 08:55:39

Fred Lanting

Suggestion: revise the tip again for the benefit of dummies:

Allen Wyatt says: a quick and easy way to get rid of any and all formatting for a selection of text, here is a quick way to do it (and then gave this):

Absolutely Getting Rid of Formatting by Allen Wyatt (last updated July 9, 2014) allen@sharonparq.com, wtanswers@tips.net
http://word.tips.net/T000167_Absolutely_Getting_Rid_of_Formatting.html?awt_l=BqCss&awt_m=IitTX2jqSQPx4X
--------------------
But questions remained: Where do I find “Clipboard”? And once I find that, where do I find “Notepad” accessory?

It took some experimenting, but at last I found a way to get rid of formatting. Allen's directions were not elementary enough... Here are the steps he assumed that we dummies already knew:

In the document, go to “Edit” in the tool bar at top of screen and hit “select all”; or else, use Ctrl-A. Otherwise, use click-and-drag to highlight the part you want, then “copy”(Ctrl-C).
Click on “Start” on the lower left corner of the screen. Then click on “All Programs”, “Accessories”, “Notepad”, and then paste (Ctrl-V) into the Notepad.
Once your text is there, you can copy it again (Ctrl-C), and paste it (Ctrl-V) into the Word document that you are working with, without the shading or other formatting.


This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the menu interface (Word 97, Word 2000, Word 2002, or Word 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.