Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 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: Cleaning Up a Document that Mixes Styles with Direct Formatting.

Cleaning Up a Document that Mixes Styles with Direct Formatting

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated March 17, 2018)

When a document is formatted with styles, it is much easier to create and maintain a consistent format. When someone adds direct formatting, it can create some formatting problems. If you are using Word 2002 or Word 2003 there is a relatively easy way to locate the direct formatting. Perform these steps:

  1. Choose Options from the Tools menu. Word displays the Options dialog box.
  2. On the Edit tab, make sure the Keep Track of Formatting check box is selected. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Edit tab of the Options dialog box.

  4. Click OK.
  5. Open the document you want to work on.
  6. Choose Styles and Formatting from the Format menu. Word displays the Styles and Formatting task pane at the right side of your screen.
  7. At the bottom of the task pane, in the Show box, select Available Formatting. (If the Available Formatting option is not available, you didn't follow steps 1 through 3.)
  8. In the task pane, scroll down your list of styles to locate any entry that does not have either the paragraph mark symbol or raised letter a. These entries will generally display a style name plus some other formatting. These entries indicate direct formatting. For example, Body Text + Right indicates a Body Text paragraph that has been directly formatted as right aligned.
  9. Point to the item in the list, and a drop-down arrow appears at the right side of the item. Click the arrow.
  10. From the menu that appears, choose Select All Instances. Word highlights all occurrences of the formatting.

Once you have all this text selected you have several options. You can reapply the original style, in which case the Modify Style dialog box may appear and you'll have the option of updating the style to reflect the recent changes or reapplying the formatting of the style to the selection. (You want the latter option.)

You can also use Ctrl+Q to set the paragraphs back to their original format, or you can use Ctrl+Spacebar to remove any direct character formatting from the selections.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (5402) applies to Microsoft Word 2002 and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Word (Word 2007 and later) here: Cleaning Up a Document that Mixes Styles with Direct Formatting.

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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