Today I’m going to introduce you to a lovely quick short cut that can save what can only be described as a lot of faffing around: format painter.
We use format painter to pick up the formatting of some text, copy it, and paste it into some other text, to make the formatting match. I’ll give you a simple example.
How do I copy the formatting of one bit of text into another?
Here we have some text in the format we want, and some text not in that format, which we want to change.
Now the trick is to use a little button you may not have even noticed before. It’s on the Home tab (in Word 2007 and Word 2010; in Word 2003 it’s in the Format menu) in the cut, copy, paste area. Handily, it has its name next to it:
Now, it’s important to get this next bit in the right order! Highlight the text which is formatted in a way you want to copy, in this case the first line of text, and, once it’s highlighted, press the Format Painter button:
It doesn’t matter how much of the original text you pick up, as long as it has the right formatting. Now you will notice that the cursor has changed into a little paintbrush. Annoyingly, this doesn’t show up on a screen print, so you will have to take my word for it. “Paint” with the paintbrush across all of the text you want to change, keeping your left mouse button down, and it will highlight it (but nothing will change … yet):
Now let go of the mouse button and hey presto …
Note: the formatting will change to exactly what you picked up from the original text. So if you have a word in bold in the middle of your text, it will change to whatever the original had.
This is quite a simplistic example, but here’s where it comes in handy:
Say you’re editing a document with a lot of different text styles, header styles, etc. Maybe there’s a table with a variety of fonts. Rather than clicking on the text that you want your text to look like, noting the font, size, etc. then highlighting your text and changing all those features manually, simply highlight, format painter, and paint away!
Please note, these hints work with versions of Microsoft Word currently in use – Word 2003, Word 2007 and Word 2010, all for PC. Mac compatible versions of Word should have similar options. Always save a copy of your document before manipulating it. I bear no responsibility for any pickles you might get yourself into!