10 Microsoft Word style secrets

Harness the power of styles to format and edit your Word documents quickly.

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3. Turn the Clock Back to Word 2003

One generally unpopular change that Microsoft introduced with Word 2007 (and carried forward to Word 2010) is a new paragraph default style that includes excessive amounts of space between paragraphs. You can go back to the tighter paragraph layout that was standard in Word 2003 by selecting any existing text in the document and, under the Home tab on the Ribbon, selecting Change Styles > Style Set > Word 2003. This action applies the Word 2003 paragraph styling to the document, causing the excess spacing to disappear.

4. Clean Up After Others

Occasionally someone will send you a document that I call a "choc chip cookie," a document dotted with all sorts of styles and fonts. If all you want is a plain text file, or if you prefer a clean document that you can format from scratch, you can remove the existing formatting quickly and easily.

Select all of the text in the document by pressing Ctrl-A, and then press Ctrl-Space to remove any special formatting. If the text paragraphs have styles associated with them, the styles will remain in place, but any additional formatting will vanish.

If you press Ctrl-Q, all styles will return to their original look. So if someone has altered a styled paragraph by, say, changing its alignment, your key command will undo that alignment change, and the paragraph will revert to the style defaults.

To get rid of absolutely everything, press Ctrl-Shift-N to set the entire document to normal style. Alternatively, you can click the Home tab, display the Styles Gallery drop-down menu, and click Clear Formatting.

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