Quick Tricks for Applying Styles to Word Documents

Styles are applied to many good ends, in Word: production workflow, ebook coding, and making restructuring easy, to name a few. There are several easy ways to apply styles, too!

  • Styles area of the Home ribbon
  • Styles panel
  • Format painter
  • Keyboard shortcut

Word 365 Ribbon

With the cursor placed in the desired paragraph (or with all applicable text selected) click on the desired style in the Styles group on the Home Ribbon. Windows users can click the expand arrow (that the red arrow is pointing at here) to open the Styles Pane.

The Styles Pane(shown at right) is another way to access and manipulate the styles, as well as to check which styles have been applied (shown in the “Current Style” field at the top of the list).

Mac users click the Styles Pane icon on the Home ribbon. Windows users click the “expand icon” in the Styles group.

Click any entry to apply that style wherever the cursor is currently placed in the document.

Format Painter on Word’s Home Ribbon

The paintbrush icon on the left edge of the Home ribbon will copy and paste Styles. With the cursor placed in styled text on the page, click the paintbrush to copy the style (not the text), then click and drag the cursor over the text you want to apply the style to. Release, and the text will be restyled!

Double-click the icon to copy a style and stick with it! Then you can paste that style in several locations without having to copy it again.

Keyboard Shortcut for Word Styles

⌘ + ⇧ + C copies the style of whatever text is currently selected. (Windows users use: shift + ctrl + C.)

book cover cropped to banner size
For more on working with Styles, and ways to use Styles to hack your productivity, start on page 59 of the book.

To paste that style as many times as you want, simply place the cursor in the paragraph you want to apply that style to and click ⌘ + ⇧ + V. (Windows users use: shift + ctrl + V.)

This “clipboard” remains until you copy the next style, even if you copy and paste text, pictures, or other content as well.


If the text doesn’t look right even though you’ve applied the style, check that the source text actually has a style applied and isn’t just manually formatted. Secondly, clear all formatting from the troublesome text, then reapply the style.

Got a gnarly Word problem? Submit your problem and we’ll try to answer it in the Q&A thread.

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© This blog and all materials in it are copyright Adrienne Montgomerie on the date of publication. All rights reserved. No portion may be stored or distributed without express written permission. Asking is easy!

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