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: Shortcuts for Basic Style Formatting.
by Allen Wyatt
(last updated November 21, 2018)
All too often people learning to use styles forget themselves and start applying explicit formatting over the top of style-formatted text. If you have done this or inherited someone else's document of mixed parentage, getting the formatting back to pure styles can be slow work unless you know some shortcuts. The ones presented in this tip work in all versions of Word.
First, you can select the text and use the shortcut Ctrl+Shift+Z to remove all explicit character formatting. The result will be pure styles, without any explicit character formatting. (Pressing Ctrl+Shift+Z initiates the ResetChar command within Word; it is the same as pressing Ctrl+Spacebar.)
You can also use Ctrl+Q to remove any explicit paragraph formatting and return a paragraph to its style-defined defaults. For instance, Ctrl+Q will remove any explicit indents, tabs, and line spacing.
Finally, if you want to quickly apply the Normal style to a selection of text, you can press Ctrl+Shift+N.
WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (861) 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: Shortcuts for Basic Style Formatting.
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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.