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: Reversed Bolding.

Reversed Bolding

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated September 6, 2014)

Jeff has a problem when it comes to pasting information from other people's documents into his. He works in an office where different departments send him reports. He copies information from those reports to an "overview" document. All the copying and pasting goes well, except for one document. When he copies information from that document and pastes it into his, the pasted information has the bold attribute reversed. In other words, what was regular text in the original document is now bold, and what was bold is now regular.

Copying information from one document to another can be, at times, a hit-and-miss proposition. The reason is that it doesn't always work as we expect it to, particularly when it comes to formatting. The problems can typically be traced to a difference in how styles and formatting are handled in both the source and target documents.

You see, even if you don't use styles, Word still does. Every paragraph has a style applied to it, regardless of whether you think it does or not. When you copy paragraphs from one document to the other, Word doesn't think "hey, I'm copying regular text over." Instead, it thinks "hey, I'm copying text formatted with the SoAndSo style over." If both the source and target documents use a style with the same name, and that style is formatted differently in both, then the copied text won't look the same in the target document as it does in the source. You can find a particularly good explanation of this entire concept here:

http://www.shaunakelly.com/word/styles/FormatOfTextChanges.html

The best long-term solution, then, is to make sure that both the source and target documents use the same styles, and that the styles are applied properly in both documents.

If utilizing styles is not an option (perhaps office politics won't allow for it), then you may be forced to simply try to "fix" the information pasted in your target document. There are two ways you can do this: by using Find and Replace or by using a macro. To use the Find and Replace method, follow these general steps:

  1. Search for text formatted as bold, replacing it with regular text formatted with a color, such as red.
  2. Search for text that is neither bold nor red, replacing it with bold text that is not red.
  3. Search for text that is red, replacing it with regular text.

The use of a different-colored text (red) is necessary so that there can remain a differentiation between the text that is supposed to end up bold and the text that is supposed to end up regular.

If you use a macro, there is no such problem. The following simple macro goes through each character in a selection and simply changes the condition of the bold attribute.

Sub ReverseBold()
    Dim c
    For Each c In Selection.Characters
        c.Font.Bold = Not c.Font.Bold
    Next c
End Sub

All you need to do is select the text you just pasted—the text that has the bolding reversed—and run the macro. Every instance of bold text is changed to regular, and regular is changed to bold.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (3525) 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: Reversed Bolding.

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. ...

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