How to Clear Formatting in Google Docs

The steps in this article are going to show you how to select part of your document or all of your document, then clear the formatting that has been applied to that document in Google Docs.

Google Docs allows you to customize your documents in a number of ways. Whether you need to set a background image or change the font styling for a selection of text, Google Docs gives you the tools to perform these actions.

Sometimes content that you paste into your Google Docs document will include unwanted formatting. The text might be too large, or the wrong color, when you want it to look the same as the rest of the document.

While selecting the text and manually changing those formatting options is one solution, it can be tedious and frustrating to try and locate each different formatting option that needs to be adjusted.

Fortunately, there is a way to clear formatting from a Google Docs document all at once.

Google Docs – Remove Formatting

  1. Open your document.
  2. Use your mouse to select the text containing the formatting to remove.
  3. Click the Clear formatting button at the right end of the toolbar.

Our guide continues below with additional information on clearing formatting in Google Docs, including pictures of these steps.

Our tutorial on how to make Google Docs vertical text can show you a handful of options that let you write vertically in your document.

How to Clear Formatting from a Selection in Google Docs (Guide with Pictures)

The steps in this guide were performed in the desktop version of the Google Chrome Web browser, but will also work in other desktop browsers like Firefox and Microsoft Edge as well.

Step 1: Sign into your Google Drive at and open the document containing the formatting you want to remove.

Step 2: Select the text with the unwanted formatting.

You can select the entire document by pressing Ctrl + A on your keyboard or choosing the Edit > Select All option.

select the text

Step 3: Click the Clear formatting button at the right end of the toolbar above the document.

how to clear formatting in Google Docs

Alternatively, you can select the Clear formatting option by going to the Format > Clear formatting menu, or by using the Ctrl + \ keyboard shortcut.

alternate option to remove formatting in Google Docs

Note that clearing the formatting won’t remove everything. For example, if your selection contains bullet points then those will remain. You will need to select the text that contains bullet points then click the bullet points button in the toolbar to remove those.

If your document has a background color that you don’t need, then our how to remove background color in Google Docs article can show you how to eliminate it.

Additionally, if some of the text has a hyperlink, like an affiliate link that was copied from a Web page, then you will need to click on the link in the document and click the Remove link button.

So while learning how to clear formatting in Google Docs will help you to get rid of a lot of the stuff that you want to eliminate from a document, it may not take care of everything.

Continue reading below for more about clearing formatting from the Edit menu option or the toolbar, as well as some additional information on editing and formatting in the Google Apps word processing application.

is There a Keyboard Shortcut to Clear Formatting in Google Docs?

While many users won’t need to clear formatting frequently from their Google Doc, it can be useful to know the keyboard shortcut if it’s an action that you will take with some regularity.

The keyboard shortcut is Ctrl + \

Note that you need to have selected text before pressing this key combination.

More Information on How to Clear Formatting in Google Docs

The steps in this article discuss how to both clear formatting from a small selection of text in a document, such as a sentence or a word, as well as how to clear formatting from the entire document. The option to only change come text without affecting the surrounding text is useful when you paste text from another location. While each option has its place, familiarizing yourself with the “Select All” command can be beneficial.

While you will use the option to select everything in this document as a way to remove formatting in Google Docs, you can apply that technique for other things, too. For example, you can quickly change the font style, font color, or font size for your entire document by selecting it all, then simply making that font change in the toolbar.

The Microsoft Office word processing application, Microsoft Word, also has a way for you to clear formatting from a selection. You can simply select the Home tab, then click the Clear All Formatting button in the Font group of the ribbon.

If you select clear formatting and it isn’t having the desired effect, then you may want to try downloading the document as plain text or copying the text and pasting it into Notepad. Copied text that is pasted into the Notepad application has all of its formatting removed.

Find out how to switch to landscape in Google Docs if your document needs to be changed from its current portrait orientation.

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