How to Copy Formatting in Google Docs: A Step-by-Step Guide

Copying formatting in Google Docs is a breeze. First, select the text with the formatting you want to copy. Then, click on the ‘Paint Format’ tool located on the left side of the toolbar. The cursor will change to a paint roller. Next, highlight the text you want to apply the formatting to. And voila! The formatting will be copied over. If you want to apply the formatting to multiple areas, double-click the ‘Paint Format’ tool.

Once you complete the action, the formatting style of the selected text will be duplicated onto the text you’ve chosen. This means fonts, colors, spacing, and more will match perfectly without the need to manually adjust each setting.


Google Docs has become a staple in our daily digital lives, whether we’re students collaborating on a group project, professionals sharing business proposals, or just organizing personal documents. One of its most useful features is the ability to copy formatting from one section of text to another with a few simple clicks. This nifty tool can save you a lot of time and ensure consistency across your document.

Think about it, you’ve spent ages getting that header just right, and now you have to replicate it throughout a 20-page document. Or, perhaps you’re a teacher with a rubric that needs uniform formatting. Manually adjusting each section is not only tedious but also leaves room for error. That’s where copying formatting comes in handy. It’s relevant to anyone who uses Google Docs for creating or editing documents and values efficiency and a polished look. Plus, learning this feature is a piece of cake!

Step by Step Tutorial on How to Copy Formatting in Google Docs

This series of steps will guide you through copying formatting in Google Docs, ensuring your documents have a consistent and professional appearance.

Step 1: Select the Text with the Formatting to Copy

Select the text where your desired formatting is already applied.

The text can be anything – a single word, a sentence, or a whole paragraph. The key is to highlight the part that has the formatting you want to replicate elsewhere.

Step 2: Click the ‘Paint Format’ Tool

Click on the ‘Paint Format’ icon in the toolbar.

This icon looks like a paint roller and is usually found on the left side of the toolbar. If you’re not sure which one it is, just hover over the icons and a little description will pop up.

Step 3: Apply the Formatting to Other Text

Highlight the text where you want the copied formatting to be applied.

With the formatting tool active, your cursor changes to a paint roller, indicating you’re in format-copying mode. Simply drag over the text you want to reformat, and it’ll change right before your eyes.

Step 4: Repeat if Necessary

Double-click the ‘Paint Format’ tool if you need to apply the formatting to multiple areas.

By double-clicking, the format painter stays active, allowing you to apply the same formatting across different parts of your document. When you’re done, just click the paint roller again or press the ‘ESC’ key to exit the tool.


Saves TimeBy using the ‘Paint Format’ tool, you save time that would otherwise be spent manually adjusting formatting settings for each section of your document.
Ensures ConsistencyIt ensures that formatting is consistent throughout your document, which is key to maintaining a professional look.
Easy to UseThe tool is straightforward and doesn’t require any advanced technical knowledge, making it accessible to all users.


Limited to FormattingThe ‘Paint Format’ tool only copies formatting, not the actual content or structure of the text.
No Multiple Format CopyingYou can’t copy multiple formats at once; it’s one format at a time.
Can Overwrite Desired FormattingIf not used carefully, the tool can overwrite other formatting you wanted to keep, requiring you to undo the action.

Additional Information

While the ‘Paint Format’ tool in Google Docs is a powerful feature, there are some additional tips and tricks to keep in mind. For instance, if you’re working on a longer document, it’s helpful to know that you can copy formatting across different parts of the document without having to scroll back and forth. After you’ve activated the tool, you can use the document’s outline feature to quickly jump to different sections.

Another handy feature is the ability to use keyboard shortcuts. Instead of clicking the ‘Paint Format’ tool, you can press Ctrl + Alt + C to copy the formatting and Ctrl + Alt + V to apply it. This can speed up your workflow considerably.

Remember, copying formatting can be particularly useful when dealing with bullet points or numbered lists, as it maintains the structure and spacing perfectly. It’s also important to note that while the tool can’t copy multiple formats at once, you can quickly reselect the ‘Paint Format’ tool to copy another format right after applying the previous one.


  1. Select the text with the formatting.
  2. Click the ‘Paint Format’ tool.
  3. Apply the formatting to other text.
  4. Repeat if necessary.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I copy formatting from one Google Doc to another?

Yes, you can copy formatting between documents by using the ‘Paint Format’ tool in one document, switching to the other, and then applying the formatting.

Does the ‘Paint Format’ tool copy images or tables?

No, it only copies text formatting, such as font type, size, color, and spacing, but not structural elements like images or tables.

Can I use the ‘Paint Format’ tool on a mobile device?

Yes, the tool is available on the Google Docs app for mobile devices, though the interface may be slightly different.

Is there a way to copy formatting to all similar text automatically?

Currently, there isn’t an automatic way to apply formatting to all similar text. You need to manually select each section you want to reformat.

If I make a mistake, how do I undo the formatting?

You can simply press Ctrl + Z (Cmd + Z on a Mac) to undo the last action, including any formatting applied with the ‘Paint Format’ tool.


Mastering the art of copying formatting in Google Docs is like having a magic wand at your fingertips; it can transform your documents from drab to fab in mere seconds. Not only does it elevate the professionalism of your work, but it’s also a testament to your efficiency and attention to detail. Whether you’re a student, a professional, or just someone who loves organization, this feature is bound to become a staple in your document-editing toolbox.

Keep practicing, refine your skills, and soon, you’ll be formatting documents with the speed and precision of a pro. And remember, while the ‘Paint Format’ tool is fantastic, it’s only one of many features Google Docs has to offer. So don’t stop here—explore, learn, and conquer the digital world of document editing.

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