Microsoft Word is very flexible when it comes to the styling of the content that you write in it. For example, you can change the colour, font, size, styling, and more, all just for text. By default, when you copy text into Word, it maintains the styling from its source. In some cases, this can be perfectly fine, as you may have wanted that exact formatting. Unfortunately, this is also often not the case too, text from the web especially often comes in a slightly different font, size, colour, or even background colour and it can be annoying to deal with. Thankfully, there are a number of options to help you out.
How to clear the formatting in Word
If you’ve just copied some text into Word, there should be a small box just below and to the right of the pasted text that says “(Ctrl)”. Simply click the button or press the Ctrl key and you can configure the Paste Options for the pasted text. Your choices are to keep the source formatting, to attempt to merge the formatting with surrounding text, to import the text as a picture, or to strip all styling from the text respectively.
Tip: The box to change the Paste Option is only available until you next make a change to the document. After that, you need to re-paste the text to get the option back.
If you want you can change the default Paste Option, you can do so by clicking “Set Default Paste” just under the Paste Options as described above. This will open Word’s settings to the location where you can configure the default paste behaviour for text.
If you notice that throughout your document there are many changes in formatting that you don’t want to keep, you can choose to cut and paste the entire document, by pressing Ctrl + A, Ctrl + X, and Ctrl + V. Once, you’ve done so, simply change the Paste Option to “Keep Text Only” and all formatting in the document will be removed, except newlines and other white space characters.
Keep in mind that this will also erase any formatting you do want to keep too. While you can select, then cut and paste a set of paragraphs, they will only ever paste in a single group. Non-contiguous paragraphs won’t reformat themselves to go back exactly where they came from, if there was a paragraph you didn’t cut and paste in the middle it will be pushed to the end.