MS-Word 2007/10/13

This article describes how to use the Format Painter in single-use and multiple application modes. It also explains why formatting with styles is superiour to using the Format Painter.

Format Painter

The Format Painter is used to sample the formats applied to some selected text, and then duplicate ("paint") that formatting onto text at one or more selected destinations.

Format Painter can be activated in two modes: single-use, and multiple-use.

For single-use:

  1. Select the source formatting sample
  2. Single-click (left) the Format Painter button in the Home tab's Clipboard group
  3. Hold down the left mouse button to select the destination text

When you release the mouse button, Format Painter applies the sampled formats to the destination text and then deactivates itself.

For multiple applications:

  1. Select the source formatting sample
  2. Double-click the Format Painter button
  3. Select some destination text (formats applied when mouse button is released)
  4. Repeat as many times as desired
  5. When done, single-click the Format Painter button to deactivate the Painter

Note that the Format Painter copies all formatting - that applied originally as direct formatting as well as that applied using a style.

If you are using the Format Painter frequently to copy the same direct formatting, it's likely you would be better off using a style instead. The advantage of applying one or more formats at multiple locations using a style is that styles are dynamic - change a style and the change is felt at every location using the style.

See Formatting with Styles.


Bruce Miller, 2000, 2005, 2014

Index to MS-Word articles

Index to all articles