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

Creating Special, Compound Characters

If you have a need for special characters (particularly in technical documents), Word provides a couple of ways you can ...

Discover More

Understanding Functions

Do some macro programming in VBA and you'll quickly find out that you can use functions to extend the power and flexibility ...

Discover More

How Word Handles Abbreviations

Abbreviations appear all over the place in our society. If you want to understand how Word recognizes them (which it has to ...

Discover More

Learning Made Easy! Quickly teach yourself how to format, publish, and share your content using Word 2013. With Step by Step, you set the pace, building and practicing the skills you need, just when you need them! Check out Microsoft Word 2013 Step by Step today!

MORE WORDTIPS (MENU)

Unable to Use Bulleting and Numbering

Got a document where you just can't get bullets and numbering to work right? It could be that your document is corrupted. ...

Discover More

Changing AutoFormatting Rules

The AutoFormat feature of Word can be configured to make changes to a variety of conditions in your document. Here's how to ...

Discover More

The Standard on the Ruler

Need to know all there is to know about the Ruler? This tip leads to a valuable Word MVP article on the subject.

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 for this tip:

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 three minus 0?

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


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.

Links and Sharing
Share