How Do You Remove Formatting in Word 2013: A Step-by-Step Guide

Removing formatting in Word 2013 is a breeze once you know where to look. You can strip your document of all formatting, returning it to plain text, with just a couple of clicks. Essentially, you’ll be using the ‘Clear Formatting’ command found in the ‘Font’ group on the ‘Home’ tab.

Once you’ve removed the formatting, your text will appear in the default font (usually Calibri) and size (typically 11 or 12 pt), and all bolding, italics, underlines, bullet points, and other character and paragraph styles will be wiped clean.


We’ve all been there – you’re working on a Word document, and the formatting is just not cooperating. Maybe you’ve copied text from a web page or another document, and it’s brought along a host of unwanted fonts, styles, and spacing. Or perhaps you’re just looking to start fresh without the distraction of bolds, italics, and underlines. No matter the reason, knowing how to remove formatting in Word 2013 is an essential skill that can save you from frustration and help maintain the professionalism of your documents.

Imagine you’re putting together a report that needs to be clean and uniform, but chunks of text are standing out because they’re in a different font or size. Or perhaps you’re editing a document, and the sections you’ve rewritten now clash with the established style. In these cases, stripping away the existing formatting can not only give your document a consistent look but also can make it easier for you to apply new, uniform styles as needed. This task is particularly relevant for students, professionals, and anyone who deals with document creation and editing. It’s a quick fix that can make a world of difference.

Step by Step Tutorial: Removing Formatting in Word 2013

Before we dive into the steps, let’s cover what we’re aiming to achieve here. The steps outlined below will guide you through the process of removing any and all formatting from your text in Word 2013. This means converting your text back to the default font and size, and removing any bold, italic, underline, color, background, and various other text effects. Here’s how you can do it:

Step 1: Select the text

Select the text from which you want to remove the formatting.

Selecting text can be done in many ways; you can drag your cursor over the text, double-click a word to select it, or use keyboard shortcuts like Ctrl+A to select all the text in your document. Make sure you’ve selected all the text you want to return to plain text.

Step 2: Use the ‘Clear Formatting’ command

Click on the ‘Clear Formatting’ command in the ‘Font’ group on the ‘Home’ tab.

The ‘Clear Formatting’ button looks like a small eraser icon and is usually located near the font and size dropdown menus. When you click it, all the formatting options applied to the selected text will be removed instantly.


UniformityEnsures consistency throughout the document.
Time-savingFaster than manually changing each formatting attribute.
Clean slateAllows for new styles to be applied without interference from old formatting.

Uniformity is crucial, especially in professional and academic documents. By removing formatting, you create a consistent look throughout your document, which is more visually appealing and easier to read.

Time-saving is a significant benefit of using the ‘Clear Formatting’ command. Instead of combing through your document and adjusting each instance of unwanted formatting, you can remove it all in one fell swoop, freeing up time for more critical tasks.

Starting with a clean slate is another advantage. When you clear the formatting, you’re essentially turning your text back into a blank canvas, ready to be styled in whatever way you see fit without the hassle of previous formatting.


Loss of desired formattingYou might remove formatting you wanted to keep.
Default font dependencyThe text reverts to the default font, which may not be what you want.
Overzealous clearingIt’s easy to remove formatting from more text than intended.

One issue you might encounter is the loss of desired formatting. If you’re not careful, you might remove formatting that you intended to keep, like bolding for headings or italics for emphasis.

Default font dependency can be a con if you don’t want your text in the default font. When the formatting is cleared, your text will revert to Word’s default font (Calibri), which may not be suitable for your document’s needs.

Overzealous clearing is when you accidentally remove formatting from more text than you intended. This could mean more work for you if you have to go back and reapply certain styles to parts of your text.

Additional Information

When removing formatting in Word 2013, it’s also helpful to know about other related features. For instance, if you want to copy text from your now unformatted document and paste it without bringing any residual formatting, use the ‘Paste Special’ function (accessible from the ‘Home’ tab) and select ‘Unformatted Text’.

Additionally, remember that ‘Clear Formatting’ doesn’t affect the layout of your document — things like margins, line spacing, and alignment won’t change. If you need to adjust those, you’ll have to do so separately. And what about those times when you only want to remove certain types of formatting? Word 2013 also allows you to clear just the character or just the paragraph formatting using the ‘Clear All’ dropdown menu in the Styles group.

It’s also worth noting that keyboard fanatics can use the shortcut Ctrl + Spacebar to clear character formatting and Ctrl + Q to clear paragraph formatting. This can be a real time-saver once you get the hang of it.


  1. Select the text from which you want to remove formatting.
  2. Use the ‘Clear Formatting’ command in the ‘Font’ group on the ‘Home’ tab.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I remove only specific types of formatting, such as bold or italics?

You can manually change these attributes one by one by selecting the text and clicking the appropriate buttons in the ‘Font’ group (e.g., clicking ‘B’ to un-bold text).

Does ‘Clear Formatting’ also remove hyperlinks?

Yes, ‘Clear Formatting’ will remove hyperlinks. You’ll need to reinsert them if necessary.

Can I remove formatting from multiple sections of text at once?

Absolutely! Just hold down the Ctrl key while selecting different chunks of text. Then, click ‘Clear Formatting’ once to remove the formatting from all selected areas.

What if I accidentally remove formatting I wanted to keep?

Don’t panic – you can use the ‘Undo’ command (Ctrl + Z) to reverse your last action and restore the formatting.

Will ‘Clear Formatting’ affect the document’s layout?

No, it won’t. ‘Clear Formatting’ only affects the text’s appearance, not the document’s structural elements like margins, spacing, or alignment.


Removing formatting in Word 2013 is a handy tool that can turn messy, inconsistent text into a polished, uniform document. Whether you’re dealing with imported text from a webpage, clashing styles from multiple authors, or just looking to start fresh, the ‘Clear Formatting’ command is your go-to solution.

And remember, while it’s a powerful feature, use it with caution to avoid wiping away formatting you intended to keep. Keep practicing, and you’ll soon master this and other Word features, making your document creation process smoother and more efficient.

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