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How to Clear Formatting in Word [For Students]

June 18, 2024

Formatting can feel like an extra job, especially when you're already swamped with assignments and exams. Yet, it holds marks, and when you're citing something, you often need to quote it in your document. Copy-pasting can throw off your formatting, leading to a time-consuming process of adjusting it to match the rest of your paper. I’ve been there, struggling to maintain consistency while changing fonts, sizes, and indentation to fit the required style. So I will show you how to clear formatting in Word for students to keep your document's formatting on track.

How to Clear Formatting in Word For Students

Why Do We Clear Formatting?

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you've copied and pasted content from different sources into your Word document, only to be greeted by a chaotic mix of fonts, sizes, and colors? As a student, maintaining a consistent and professional appearance in your Word documents is crucial for effective communication. Here's why learning how to clear formatting can be incredibly valuable:

  • Inconsistent Styles: Copying and pasting content from different sources often introduces a mishmash of fonts, sizes, colors, and other formatting elements. Clearing formatting eliminates these inconsistencies, creating a unified visual style throughout your document.

  • Disparate Paragraphs: Individual paragraphs may inherit formatting from their original source, leading to variations within the document. Clearing formatting ensures all paragraphs adhere to the overall style you establish.

  • Mismatched Headings: Headings copied from external sources may not align with the heading hierarchy of your document. Clearing formatting allows you to adjust them to match your desired style guide (e.g., APA, MLA).

  • Unintended Footnotes: Footnotes from external sources might appear in different formats, potentially disrupting the citation structure of your document. Clearing formatting provides a clean slate for you to incorporate them according to your citation style.

1.Multiple formats in one document

Copying content from various sources can result in inconsistent formatting, turning your document into a chaotic mix of styles. As a student, it's crucial to maintain consistency throughout your document, which is why learning how to remove formatting in Word is essential. Using this tool makes it much easier because you won't have to manually adjust the formatting of every individual text, footnote, or header.

Multiple Format in a Single Document

2.Copy and Paste Content from the Internet

Often, when students gather data for reports or other educational work, they turn to the internet for information. In doing so, the document's formatting may be affected. Each source may have a different format, resulting in a multitude of formats in your document—a nightmare to navigate. However, with the help of the Clear Formatting tool in Word, students can quickly work around this issue.

Copy and paste content from the Internet

How to Clear Formatting for the Entire Text?

Let's say you were swamped with your research and ended up copying from different sources. Some text was highlighted, some font colors were red, and there was variation in font sizes. Now, manually aligning all of these to one font in Microsoft Word would require a round trip through all the font features. However, with the clear formatting tool, removing various formatting copied alongside text from other sources will only take you 2 steps. To make the process even simpler, I'll be using WPS Writer, an easy-to-use and navigate office suite, which allows me to edit my documents with ease, and doesn't cost me a fortune to simply edit my work documents.

Text copied from various sources with different formatting

Step 1: Let's open our Word document where we've done our research and need to change the formatting.

Step 2: To format the entire document, press "CTRL + A" to select all content, or use your mouse to select the text you want to remove formatting from.

Select text to be formatted in WPS Writer

Step 3: Now, visit the Home tab and in the ribbon, click on the "Clear All Formatting" icon next to font settings.

WPS Writer Clear all Formatting tool

Step 4: All formatting will be cleared except for a few exceptions; hyperlinks will remain unchanged, and if the text is formatted to Uppercase, it will stay the same.

Exceptions after clearing formatting

Step 5: Furthermore, to clear formatting using the keyboard shortcut, press "ALT + H + E" in WPS Writer.

How to Clear Formatting of Headings/ Footnotes/ Boxes separately?

Removing formatting from headers, footnotes, or text boxes in Word isn't much different, but they require separate selection and use of the Clear Formatting tool. Let's see this process through an example:

Step 1: So, in our document, we can see a few lines of text in its header, each line with different formatting. Let's use our mouse to select it.

Step 2: Now, head over to the Home tab and click on the "Clear All Formatting" icon in the ribbon under the Font section to clear all formatting in the header.

Remove formatting in Headers from Word document

Step 3: Similarly, for footnotes, select the footnotes and click on the "Clear All Formatting" icon again in the Home ribbon to ensure consistent formatting.

Remove formatting in Footnotes from Word document

Step 4: If there are any text boxes in the document, simply select the text, and click the "Clear All Formatting" icon in the Home ribbon.

Remove formatting in Textboxes from Word document

Clearing formatting from different parts of the document can be a bit tedious. Over the years, the best practice I've learned is to utilize the Paste Special feature in Word to ensure my documents are formatted correctly from the outset.

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How to Clear Formatting for Paragraphs Space

Another common issue students often face when clearing formatting is the character spacing in words, or word spacing. Now, this word spacing cannot be removed with the clear formatting tool, but for this, students can seek help from the Replace tool in Word.

Paragraph or Word spacing errors while Clear Formatting in Word

Step 1: First, let's select the text where the formatting error with paragraph or word spacing is occurring.

Step 2: Now, to use the Replace tool, go to the Home tab and select the Find and Replace button in the Home ribbon.

Replace tool in WPS Writer

The Replace tool can also be accessed using the shortcut key "Ctrl + H".

Step 3: In the Replace dialog, simply enter the number of spaces there are between the words in the "Find what" field. For example, if there are 3 spaces in my document, I'll press the "Spacebar" 3 times on my keyboard.

Step 4: In the "Replace with" field, enter a single space to ensure words have single spacing.

Step 5: Now, click on the "Replace All" button to replace all the additional spaces between words with a single space.

Replace All extra word spacing in WPS Writer

Formatting issues are significant when working on school or university projects. In fact, many instructors allocate marks specifically for formatting in the overall project. Therefore, learning how to format your documents is crucial. The Clear Formatting tool, along with various other tools, are designated features of Word provided by Microsoft to ensure students can efficiently format their documents.

Using WPS Office to Help You Write Better Essays

WPS Office is a student-friendly office suite that gets even better with its integrated AI, making it a perfect companion for students tackling essays and academic writing. With WPS AI, you can take your essays to the next level, ensuring they meet and exceed the required standards. Here's how WPS AI can help you achieve this:

Smart Content Beautification: Writing a paper often means hitting word count requirements or making sure you don't go overboard. WPS AI comes in handy by allowing you to refine and beautify your content, giving your essay a polished and professional look. It can suggest better word choices, improve sentence structure, and even help with overall coherence, ensuring your paper meets academic standards.

WPS Writer

Convenient PDF Conversion: When it comes time to submit your essay, the last thing you want is for formatting to get messed up. That's why WPS Office includes powerful PDF features that let you convert your essay into PDF with ease. Unlike Microsoft Word, which can sometimes cause formatting issues when converting to PDF, WPS Office keeps your layout intact, preserving all your hard work.


1. How to Clear Formatting in Microsoft Word on Mac?

When you copy something from the internet or a web page, it includes all formatting like hyperlinks, underlines, font styles, and color changes. Here's how to remove it:

Step 1: Select all text by pressing "Command + A".

Step 2: Click on the "Styles Pane" button located in the Home ribbon.

Microsoft Word Mac Style Pane

Step 3: Go to the "Current style" field in the Style Pane, and then select "Clear formatting" to remove formatting from the selected text in your Word document on Mac.

Microsoft Word Mac Clear formatting

2. What is one common issue students may encounter when clearing formatting in Microsoft Word?

One common issue students may face is accidentally removing important formatting elements, such as hyperlinks or special characters, along with the unwanted formatting. This can make it tedious to manually reapply those elements afterward.

3. Will clearing formatting affect my text content?

No, clearing formatting only removes the appearance changes applied to text, like font style or color, without changing the actual words or content of the text.

Your Solution to Essay Writing and Formatting Stress

You should stop worrying about your submission and how to clear formatting in Word for students because WPS AI is a really handy tool that automates the entire process for you, making essay writing and formatting easy. Whether you're struggling with citations, footnotes, or overall structure, WPS AI addresses all your concerns so you can focus on expressing your ideas freely. It can check your grammar, suggest improvements, and even help create outlines to keep you on track. Download WPS Office today and discover how it can simplify your academic tasks, reduce stress, and help you produce top-quality essays with minimal effort.

15 years of office industry experience, tech lover and copywriter. Follow me for product reviews, comparisons, and recommendations for new apps and software.