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Apply Multiple Formatting Quickly in Microsoft Word

Posted by Roger Hyttinen on

Applying formatting to many non-adjacent areas of a document can be not only tedious, but also time-consuming. Nobody wants to enter in the same formatting options over and over again. There are a couple of alternatives however. One is using the Format Painter button, a topic I discussed in a a previous post.

My preferred method however, is using the Font dialog box in conjunction with the Ctrl + Y keystroke combination. What Ctrl + Y does, is repeat the last formatting action you completed, with everything you do from the Font dialog box being considered a single action.

Font dialog box in Word

That is to say; even though you apply multiple formats from the Font dialog box (such as applying bold or italic, changing the font family and modifying the font color), they are all considered one single formatting action when performed from the dialog.

It's important to keep in mind however, that Word only remembers the last action you execute. So if apply any new subsequent formatting from the Ribbon or using a keyboard shortcut, Word will remember that last action. Thus, if you want to apply bold, change the font size to 14 and change the font color to red to multiple areas of your document, it's easiest to do every occurrence at once before performing any new formatting changes.

To apply multiple formatting in Word

  1. Select the text that you want to format.
  2. Click the Home tab on the Ribbon.
  3. Click the Font dialog launcher to display the Font dialog box.

    Font dialog launcher

  4. Choose all the formats that you want to apply (font, font color, font size, effects, etc.)
  5. Click OK.
  6. Select the next occurrence of text that you want to format.
  7. Press Ctrl + Y
  8. Repeat steps 5 and 6 for each occurrence to which you want to apply the formatting.

This is one of my favorite and most-used keyboard shortcut and I find it to be a real time-saver.


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