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Retain Text Formatting in MS Word

Tuesday, March 8th, 2011 by | Filed Under: MS Office Help, MS Word

MS Word: How To Ensure That Your Formatting Is Kept When You Copy And Paste Text

When you copy and paste text, do you ever find yourself wondering why sometimes certain formatting traits were pasted with the text and at others aren’t?

It can seem sort of random to most people… and random is frustrating.

Well, here’s the truth. It’s not random. The key to controlling the formatting when you paste, regardless of the default settings, is actually hidden from view.

No, that’s not a riddle… it truly is hidden because the formatting you’re looking to keep is stored in the hidden paragraph mark found at the end of each paragraph.

If you ensure that the paragraph mark is copied along with the rest then the formatting it contains will paste too.

How do you know if you have the paragraph mark in your text selection?

Without displaying those symbols, it’s that strange “blank space” you’ll see Word tack on to the end of a highlight sometimes. You highlight far enough and it seems that the selection highlighting is automatically extended a space… that’s Word including the paragraph mark.

The other way would be to display these marks in your document (don’t worry, they won’t print – they are just visible on the monitor). If you can see them, you know when they’re being copied with the rest.

To display the paragraph marks use the button on the Home tab of the Ribbon.

That’s all there is to it… the only question now is to include or not to include the paragraph mark.

~ April

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6 Responses to “Retain Text Formatting in MS Word”

  1. HEMACHANDRA says:

    Sometimes, when I copy and paste a document elsewhere, I find that the formatting is not uniform. If the original document is in bold letters, the copied text is partially bold and partially normal letters. What could be the reason?

  2. Allan Poe says:

    I am using Word 97 and would like to use your suggestion. Here is the Help instruction for W97. I know it sounds simple enough, but I can’t get it to work. Can you please help me?

    Copy character and paragraph formats

    1 Select the text that has the formatting you want to copy.
    2 Click Format Painter, and then select the text where you want to apply the formatting.

    Tip To copy the selected formatting to several locations, double-click Format Painter. Click the button again when you’re finished.

  3. Jerry Buerge says:

    Never have had this problem, perhaps because I have a habit of selecting the text from the end to the beginning after I have read it. That is easier and should include any hidden code for the paragraph. At least, I suspect it does. Perhaps I always finish reading at the end of a paragraph? Puzzle!

  4. terry says:

    There have been times over the past few years I have submitted questions, but never received an answer. I can I be assured of getting an answer?

  5. terry says:

    There have been times over the past few years I have submitted questions, but never received an answer. How can I be assured of getting an answer?

    • Kevin says:

      While we’d love to answer each question that comes in, the sheer volume of questions makes that impossible, so it’s left to the writers to select those that best match their skill set. However, if you’d like to post your question here, I’ll be glad to help…if I can.
      Also, you may want to take a look at the WorldStart article entitled, Help Us Help You, published last year. This was an attempt to help readers phrase questions in a way that makes it more likely that we’ll provide the correct answer.

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