by Allen Wyatt
(last updated May 30, 2013)
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.
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