All your Clear Formatting options for Microsoft Word

Microsoft Word has three different keyboard shortcuts to clear formatting, each with its own special variation on how to remove things like bold, italics etc. from text.

Choose from Ctrl + SpaceCtrl + Q or Ctrl + Shift + N  depending on exactly what you want to remove and what to leave behind.  The difference is what happens to the special or ‘one-off’ character formatting applied vs. the Style used for the paragraph.

Here’s the three options followed by an example of how each shortcut works.

Ctrl + Space – Clear character formatting.

Ctrl + Space clears character formatting only.  The current set style will remain unchanged. Character formatting includes fonts, size, italic, bold, underline. It will leave paragraph formatting such as line spacing, indents and alignment complete.

Ctrl + Q – leave character formatting, switch to Normal style

Ctrl + Q changes the text to Normal paragraph style. All other character and font formatting remains untouched.

Ctrl + Shift + N – everything to Normal style

Ctrl + Shift + N changes all the text to Normal paragraph style, including any character formatting.

Don’t want to use Normal paragraph style?  That’s a two-step process.

  1. Clear character formatting with Ctrl + Space
  2. Apply the new style from the Styles gallery, e.g.   Ctrl + Alt + <number> for Heading styles like Ctrl + Alt + 2 for Heading 2.

Example of each Word clear formatting option

Here we put the shortcuts into action, below is the original text formatting copied from our recent article The good and bad in office LTSC.

Ctrl + Space

Clear character formatting only.

Ctrl + Q

Changes text to normal paragraph style, and normal text style.

Ctrl + Shift + N

Changes text to normal paragraph style, and normal text style.

For other Office apps see How to clear all formatting in Office documents
Choices for formatting fields in Word Mail Merge
Office Picture formatting tricks – Fit, Fill and Positioning
See Word Styles alongside document paragraphs
Keyboard Shortcuts for Styles in Word 
Fix your Word Style Gallery


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