Fix Microsoft Word Formatting Instantly with 3 Shortcut Keys

Your document formatting is all fouled up. And you’re on a tight deadline. Here are three shortcut keys to fix Microsoft Word formatting instantly. You’ll want to keep these handy, like on a sticky note stuck to the side of your monitor.

  • CTRL-SPACE removes character-level formatting (fonts, italics/bold, font size, etc.) but leaves paragraph formatting (indents, line spacing, etc.) intact.
  • CTRL-Q does the opposite, leaving fonts and other character formatting intact but returns any paragraph-level formatting to match the Normal Style of your current document (however Normal is defined in that particular document’s Styles).
  • CTRL-SHIFT-N  returns the selected text to Normal formatting, both character-level and paragraph-level.

Just select the offending text with your mouse or keyboard, then pick the appropriate shortcut key. If you’re not used to using shortcut keys, this means holding down either/both the Control key (found in the lower-left and lower-right part of your keyboard) and/or the Shift key (found directly above the Control key), then pressing the letter or other character it’s paired with.

Cut-and-paste causes most common formatting snafus, so learn how to paste text without messing up your document. If it’s too late for that, here are more ways to fix Microsoft Word formatting.

Deborah Savadra
Deborah Savadra is editor and chief blogger at Legal Office Guru. Her 22-page Fast Formatting Fixes guide can solve virtually any Microsoft Word formatting problem in two or three keystrokes.