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: Undesired Font in Form Fields.

Undesired Font in Form Fields

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated March 5, 2014)


Doug notes that he has a Word form and the form fields are set up as 9-pt Arial. After the form is protected, when the fields are filled in by users they display as 14-pt Arial Bold. He wonders why Word would change the formatting.

Quite honestly, this should not happen. There are a couple of things you should check, however. First, understand that when you insert a form field into a line of text, the form field adopts the formatting of the characters that surround it. Thus, if the field is inserted into a line of text that uses larger characters, then the form field will adopt that larger font. You'll want to explicitly change the formatting of the form field in this manner:

  1. Select some text that has the same formatting characteristics you want applied to the form field.
  2. Press Ctrl+Shift+C. This copies the formatting to the Clipboard.
  3. Select the form field you want to format.
  4. Press Ctrl+Shift+V. This pastes only the formatting to the form field.

Second, you should check to make sure that someone isn't inadvertently changing the formatting of the form field. For instance, if you insert the field and then format the line on which the field appears, the formatting that you apply to the line affects the field, as well. Thus, if you apply a 14-pt format to the entire line, the 14-pt format will override the 9-pt format you previously applied to the form itself.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (7424) 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: Undesired Font in Form Fields.

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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Comments for this tip:

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What is 9 - 7?

2015-10-13 11:00:48


Does anyone know how to prevent the formatting from changing when I change the font in a document? My organization has changed all offical correspondence from Courier New to Times New Roman and when I try to update a document with the new font, it changes all my formatting. MS Word 2013 Please help!

2015-04-23 05:26:07

Sunil Chavan

My organization uses ZurichBT 11 pt, as Corporate font. I have set it in Word 2013. While all other characters appear in ZurichBT 11, for the INR symbol ₹ Word 2013 changes the font to Arial. And from ₹ onwards Word continues font Arial unless I specifically change it back to ZurichBT. Word just does not allow the font ZurichBT for ₹. While in Excel 2013, font remains ZurichBT, once set. Also in Windows 95, Thunderbird, Notepad, LibreOffice suit the ZurichBT font remains for ₹. Please help. Regards,

2014-12-28 11:51:43


I have Word 2007 and the unchecking the "Limit formatting..." box worked. Thanks for the initial tip, Allan and the solution, Colin!

2014-11-28 14:56:28


Best bet is just to make sure that 'Limit Formatting' is not checked when you go in to protect your document. If this is checked, your selected style and font may not appear in the list they provide.

2014-03-20 15:24:48

Dave Heffernan

You can correct this by properly setting the default Style before you protect the document.

2014-01-30 21:10:36

Jason Dove

This tip did not work for legacy fields in 2013.

2013-12-04 13:16:21


Thank you Colin. That was driving me crazy! There is no need to check the Limit Formatting box in a Word form! Thanks,

2013-11-06 12:21:45


Sorry, neither the tip nor Colin's suggestion worked. My problem is a superscript that reverts to non-superscript when the fields are converted. Worked in W2003. Does not work in W2007.

2013-10-07 11:26:22


Colin, THANK YOU!!!! Worked for me too.

2013-08-13 11:58:29


This was driving me mad. I tried your suggestion but unfortunately it still didn't work. However, running out of things to try after checking various websites, I unchecked the Limit formatting to a selection of styles box in the Protect Document window - my formatting was preserved even after I protected the document!

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