If you’ve ever been working in a document (particularly one that’s been constructed with a lot of “cut and paste” from other documents) and wanted to make this paragraph (or this line or this heading) look just like that other one, here’s a simple trick.
In any version of Word (2007 forward) on the far left of the Home tab of the Ribbon, you’ll see a button that looks like a paintbrush:
That’s called the Format Painter button. It’s a nifty little feature enables you to, in effect, say, “I like the formatting here — put it over there, too.” This comes in really handy if you cut-and-paste something in from another document and the fonts/spacing/indentation/whatever doesn’t match the rest of the document.
How to use the Format Painter to “paint” formatting from one piece of text to another
Here’s how you use it:
- Highlight the text whose formatting you like.
- Click the Format Painter button once.
- Highlight the text you want to reformat.
That’s it! The text you highlighted in step #3 is reformatted to match the text you formatted in step #1.
How to use the Format Painter button to replicate formatting repeatedly
If you want to reformat multiple blocks of text, double-click the Format Painter button in step #2. That will enable you to copy that same format again and again in several places. (To stop reformatting, go back and click the Format Painter button once more, and it will “toggle” off and allow you to edit the document normally.)
How to tell why formatting differs from one text to another
Say, however, you want to just be able to tell why one section of text looks different from another? Well, here’s the solution to that problem.