Clear formatting

Updated: 12/10/2023 by Computer Hope
Chalk eraser in person's hand, erasing a chalkboard

Clear formatting is a software feature that removes all formatting from text. For example, if your document had bold text, it could be highlighted and the clear formatting feature could be used to remove the bold. This feature is helpful if you're copying text from an alternative source (e.g., a web page) to a Microsoft Word document and don't want the text to be formatted.


This term is also sometimes called erase formatting and remove formatting.

How to clear formatting

To clear the format of text follow the steps below. In these two steps we've tried to list all options available for all programs with this feature.

  1. Highlight the text you want to clear the format.
  2. Use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+spacebar or Ctrl+/ depending on the program.


  1. Right-click the highlighted text and click Clear formatting. If this option is unavailable, look for Styles and click Clear formatting.


  1. In the file menu, click Format and click Clear formatting.


  1. In the toolbar look for an icon with an eraser or a letter and an eraser. For example, in Microsoft Word the icon looks like: Clear formatting icon in Microsoft Word. (an "A" next to a pink eraser).

Practice using clear formatting

Below is heavily formatted text to practice the clear formatting feature. For example, copy the below "Example text" and paste it into a program like Google Docs. Once pasted, the text should appear the same as it does below. To remove the formatting, highlight the text in the program where it was pasted and use one of the methods mentioned above. For example, press Ctrl+spacebar. In this example, the font color, italic, bold, and size would all be removed.

Example text

Clear, Format, Software terms, Text, Unformat