How to Clear Formatting in Word

Remove formatting you don't want and get a clean file

Adding formatting to text in a Microsoft Word document, such as bold, italics, or underlining, can add emphasis and clarity to the file. However, such formatting could also cause trouble in certain circumstances, such as when copying and pasting between documents.

There are several ways to clear formatting in Word using its built-in tools or a plain text editor.

These instructions apply to Word 2019, Word 2016, Word 2013, Word 2010, Word for Office 365, and Word for Mac.

How to Clear Formatting in Word Using Clear All Formatting

Use the Clear Formatting option in the Styles group to clear the formatting of a section of text or the entire Word document.

  1. Select the text from which you want to remove formatting in Word. Use your mouse to highlight only part of the text, or, to select all of the text in the document, select anywhere inside the document, then press Ctrl+A to highlight all of the text in the Word file.

    Screenshot of selected text in Word
  2. Select the drop-down arrow in the lower-right corner of the Styles box to expand the Styles menu.

    Screenshot of Styles expanded
  3. Select Clear Formatting. Any formatting applied to the selected text will be removed.

How to Clear Formatting in Word Using the Clear All Formatting Button

The same results can be achieved using a shortcut button on the ribbon. Clear formatting from any or all of the text in a document.

  1. Select the text from which you want to remove formatting in Word. Use your mouse to highlight only part of the text, or, to select all of the text in the document, select anywhere inside the document, then press Ctrl+A to highlight all of the text in the Word file.

    Screenshot of all text selected in a Word document
  2. Select Clear All Formatting in the upper-right corner of the Font group on the Home tab of the ribbon. It resembles an upper-case letter A with a pink rubber eraser in front of it.

    Screenshot of Clear All Formatting button
  3. Any formatting applied to the selected text will be removed.

How to Clear Formatting in Word Using Notepad

Strip text of any formatting using a plain text editor, such as Notepad. This is beneficial if you've copied and pasted text from the internet or want to paste text from Word into an online content management system.

  1. Open the document with the text from which you want to clear formatting.

  2. Type "notepad" into the Windows Search box and press Enter. A new, blank Notepad file will open.

  3. Return to the Word document. Select the text from which you want to remove formatting in Word. Use your mouse to highlight only part of the text, or, to select all of the text in the document, select anywhere inside the document, then press Ctrl+A to highlight all of the text.

    Screenshot of selected text in a Word document
  4. Press Ctrl+C to copy the highlighted text. Alternatively, select Copy in the Clipboard group of the Home tab.

  5. Go back to the Notepad file. Select anywhere inside the window and press Ctrl+V to paste the text copied from Word. Alternatively, select Edit > Paste.

    Screenshot of text in Notepad
  6. Use the mouse to select the text in the Notepad file. Press Ctrl+C or select Edit > Copy to copy the text. Paste it back in Word or anywhere else you wish to use it.

How to Clear Formatting in Word for Mac

Use the Clear Formatting option to clear the formatting of a section of text or the entire Word document.

To start, click the text from which you want to remove formatting in Word, then click Edit > Clear > Clear Formatting. Any formatting applied to the selected text will be removed.