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: Quickly Displaying Formatting Specs.

Quickly Displaying Formatting Specs

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated February 6, 2016)

There may be times when you want to quickly determine what the formatting is that is applied to either a character or a paragraph. Word allows you to quickly view this information by following these steps if you are using Word 97 or Word 2000:

  1. Press Shift+F1 or choose What's This? from the Help menu. This causes the mouse pointer to change to an arrow with a question mark beside it.
  2. Point to the character or paragraph in question and click the mouse button.

Word displays a "balloon" that looks like the dialog balloons used in some cartoons. The balloon contains detailed information about the formatting of the character you pointed to, as well as the paragraph in which the character appears. You now have two options:

  • Click on a different character to see more formatting information.
  • Press Esc to make the balloons go away and return the mouse pointer to normal.

If you are using Word 2002 or Word 2003, simply select some text or place the insertion point within a word. Press Shift+F1 and the Reveal Formatting pane appears at the right side of the screen. This pane shows the formatting applied to the text you select in the main portion of the screen. When you are done reviewing the information in the Reveal Formatting pane, you can close it just as you would any other pane.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1134) 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: Quickly Displaying Formatting Specs.

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

Repeating Table Rows with Manual Page Breaks

Need to make sure part of a table is on one page and part on another? The way to do so is not to use manual page breaks, for ...

Discover More

Differences between Deleting, Clearing, and Cutting

When getting rid of text from your document, Word allows you to delete, clear, or cut. Here are the differences between these ...

Discover More

Easily Finding Superscripts

Word has a powerful Find and Replace capability, but sometimes it can be tricky to figure out exactly how to use it. Here are ...

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)

Using a Macro to Change the Formatting of All Instances of a Word

If you have a word that you need to make sure is formatted the same way throughout your document, there are several ways you ...

Discover More

X-ing Out Text

You can easily use strikethrough formatting to show deleted text in a document. What if you want to actually overprint text ...

Discover More

Maintaining Formatting when Inserting Documents

Word allows you to easily insert the contents of one document into another. Doing so, however, may result in unintended ...

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 two minus 2?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


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.