Format Painter Shortcut

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated May 30, 2013)

21

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.

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

Setting the Distance between Text and Borders

Add a border around a piece of text (such as a paragraph), and Word makes some assumptions about the placement of that border ...

Discover More

Editing a Hyperlink

Word allows you to embed active hyperlinks in your documents. If you later want to change or edit that hyperlink, you can use ...

Discover More

Using the System Information Tool

Need to lift the hood and look into the inner workings of Windows? One place you can do this easily is through the System ...

Discover More

The First and Last Word on Word! Bestselling For Dummies author Dan Gookin puts his usual fun and friendly candor back to work to show you how to navigate Word 2013. Spend more time working and less time trying to figure it all out! Check out Word 2013 For Dummies today!

More WordTips (menu)

Shortcut for Full-Screen Mode

Want to get rid of almost everything on the screen except your document? Here's how to easily maximize what you see.

Discover More

Selecting Default Paragraph Formatting

Want to return a paragraph's formatting back to it's pristine, unaltered state? You can do so by using the shortcut described ...

Discover More

Shortcut for Show/Hide

Hate to take your hands off the keyboard? Here's a handy keyboard shortcut you can use to display (or not display) the ...

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. 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 2 + 1?

2017-01-27 01:17:53

Sheetal Aggarwal

Good one


2016-12-13 12:11:44

Thandi

Wow, thanks for this. It works well!


2016-10-05 03:41:31

Gina

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


2016-04-23 10:18:13

Marmike

Thanks so much. On my Mac the format painter doesn't always work but this method does. So far anyway.


2016-01-13 14:03:27

Vandit

Thanks!!! This is very helpful.


2015-12-17 04:49:13

Andrew

Brilliant!

On a Mac, use:

Shift + Cmd + C, then,
Shift + Cmd + V.


2015-09-11 13:32:36

Jenny

Thank you very much. I am looking for this hotkey for a long time. Finally...
Very appreciate your sharing!


2015-09-07 06:19:51

Jason Wyatt

Great tip, just what I've been looking for. Thanks for sharing it.


2015-08-21 08:59:21

Sri

Wow.. thanks a lot .This saved me...


2015-07-28 08:58:25

Brian

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.


2015-06-10 21:36:47

Lee

This made me so happy.


2015-03-29 07:54:14

Salim

Thank you!


2015-03-19 14:37:34

Kishore Nandipati

Very useful.Thank you!


2015-02-23 03:08:11

Snehal

Amazing Tip!! didn't know about it at all!


2014-11-29 06:34:17

Jatin goyal

Really works and I need it since past


2014-10-23 22:13:59

Mable

Great tip, exactly what I needed! Tks a lot.


2014-09-30 00:53:25

Sabawoon Pasoon

I am very thankfull to you dears
Your Website is very usefull.

Thank you so much


2014-07-28 03:19:36

R. Sriram

Worked like a charm.. Thanks a lot!!


2014-06-24 02:57:46

Ricardo Freitas

Great tip! Thanks a lot :)


2014-06-02 12:24:44

CerTech

What if these short-cuts don't work, this only occurs in Word 2010, Outlook, Excel, Powerpoint work fine.


2012-01-06 05:30:49

Neerav Galathia

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.


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.