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Copy font, paragraph, control, object, and cell formatting using the Office Format painter

Provided by Molly Pell, Technical Project Manager

In updating product documentation and samples for our Access 2007 product line, Iím reminded of the often overlooked (and under-documented) Format Painter. The Format Painter is available in Microsoft Access, Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, and Publisher, and it lets you copy formatting from one section, control, or object to another.

This can be done within the same document, or between documents.

Using the Format Painter

The basic steps are:

  1. Select the text, paragraph, control, object, or cell that has the formatting you want.

  2. On the Standard toolbar (in Office 2003 or earlier), or on the Home ribbon (in Office 2007), click the Format Painter button. Single click the button if you only need to copy the formatting to one section, or double click the button to copy the formatting to multiple sections.

  3. Select the section or object that you want to apply the formatting to. This can be in the same document, or in another.

  4. If you double clicked the Format Painter button to copy the formatting to multiple sections, press [Esc] when youíre done.

How the Format Painter Works in Different Office Programs

Access: On Forms and Reports, use the format painter to copy formatting from one control and apply it to another. In Access, the Format Painter is available on the Formatting toolbar (in Access 2003 or earlier), or on the Home ribbon (in Access 2007).

Word: Use the Format Painter to copy the formatting of a text selection, paragraph, or graphic (AutoShape or Picture). If you want to copy font and paragraph formatting, select the text and the paragraph mark that follows the text (that hidden character at the end of the paragraph). If you want font formatting only, donít select the paragraph mark.

Excel: Use the Format Painter to copy the formatting of a text selection, cell, shape, or object (table, graph, chart, equation, etc.) that has the formatting that you want to copy.

Outlook: Use the Format Painter to copy the formatting of a text selection, paragraph, or graphic (AutoShape or Picture).

PowerPoint: Use the Format Painter to copy the formatting of a text selection, cell, or object (AutoShape, chart, table, Picture, etc.).

Publisher: Use the Format Painter to copy the formatting of a text selection, cell, or object (AutoShape, chart, table, Picture, etc.).

Example using Microsoft Word

Here's a simple example using Microsoft Word. Assume you have the following document:

First, select the text with the formatting you want to use.

Next, click the "Format Painter" button on the toolbar or ribbon.

Finally, click on the text that you want to format, and viola! The formatting is copied over. Remember that you can do this within the same document/program, or between documents/programs.

Additional Resources

For additional details on using the format painter in different Office programs, refer to the following articles:

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