Copy Formats with Format Painter

When you want to make one piece of text look exactly like another piece of text, the Format Painter is the tool to use.

Often when you are working in Word or Excel you will want two pieces of text (or the contents of two cells) to look the same. The Format Painter tool helps you copy the look of one piece of text and apply it to another piece of text. This makes it easy for you to give your text a consistent look and, better still, you don’t need to remember what formats to apply to your text.

In Microsoft Word you can copy a format by first selecting the text whose format you want to make a copy of. Then, from the Home tab of the Ribbon click the Format Painter button which looks like a small paintbrush.

Now, click and drag with your mouse over the piece of text that you want to look the same and the Format Painter will apply the format to it.

If you have lots of pieces of text that you want to format this way, then, instead of clicking the Format Painter button once, double click it. This locks the Format Painter tool so you can select multiple pieces of text one after the other and each will be formatted the same way. To finish and return to editing the document, press the Escape (Esc) key on the keyboard or click the Format Painter button again.

There is a similar Format Painter tool in Microsoft Excel. To use it you should first click on a cell that is formatted in a way that you want other cells to look like. Click the Home tab on the Ribbon and click the Format Painter button. Next, click on another cell or a group of cells and the format will be applied to them. The Format Painter lets you copy and paste text formatting without needing to know how the format was applied in the first case. Look out for the Format Painter button in other applications such as Microsoft Publisher and PowerPoint.