Reveal Formatting Task Pane

This task pane was introduced in Word 2002 and replaces the popup dialog box when you previously selected Whats This and then clicked on a selection of text.

Displaying the Task Pane

If the task pane is not already displayed you can display it in a few different ways:
1) You can also use the shortcut key (Shift + F1).
2) Clicking on the icon at the bottom of the Style Inspector task pane.

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Selected Text - To format a text selection like the text that surrounds it, select the text. In the Selected text box, click the arrow, and then click Apply Formatting of Surrounding Text.
Compare to another selection - Lets you compare this formatting with another piece of text in the document. See below.
Formatting of selected text - You can change any of the formatting properties by clicking on the blue underlines to display the corresponding dialog boxes.
Distinguish style source - Splits the formatting into what is a paragraph style and what is direct formatting.
Show all formatting marks - This toggles the display of all the non printing characters. Equivalent to (Tools > Options)(View, Formatting Marks all)

Select the text whose formatting you want to review.
The formatting information will appear in the Reveal Formatting task pane.
To change any formatting properties, click the text with a blue, underline, and then change any options you want in the dialog box that appears.

Click expand or collapse in the Reveal Formatting task pane to display or hide information about different types of formatting, such as paragraph, section, and table formatting.
You can clear the formatting of the selected text by clicking the arrow in the Selected text box, and then clicking Clear Formatting.

Compare to Another Selection

This compares the formatting of two different sections in a document
You can compare two text selections to see which formatting properties are different. This can be helpful, for example, if two paragraphs don't look exactly the same, but you're not sure which properties are different.
Select the first instance of formatting you want to compare.
Under Selected text in the Reveal Formatting task pane, an example of your formatting will appear.
Select the "Compare to another selectio"n check box.
Select the second instance of formatting to compare.
An example of the formatting will appear in the second box under Selected text.
Under Formatting differences, any differences between the two selections will be described.
When the two selections are exactly the same, No formatting differences will appear instead of the description.
To format the second selection so that it matches the first selection, click the arrow next to the second box under Selected text, and then click Apply Formatting of Original Selection.
You can also click the blue, underlined text under Formatting differences, and then correct any inconsistencies or make other changes in the second text selection.

Checking for consistency

Microsoft Word can help you determine whether formatting is applied inconsistently in your document. For example, if most of your headings in a document are 48 point, but you accidentally formatted some as 47 point, Word can help you format them all as 48 point. Consistent formatting can give your documents a more professional look.
Word checks for the following formatting inconsistencies:

  • Occurrences of similar formatting that you've applied directly to text.

  • Occurrences of similar formatting that is applied to lists.

  • Occurrences of direct formatting that match styles that are applied elsewhere in your document.

If two occurrences of formatting are markedly different, then Word will not designate them as inconsistent. For example, occurrences of Arial, 12 point and Arial, 16 point would not be considered inconsistent, since one might be used for body text and the other for headings.
When you turn this option on, Word checks for inconsistencies as you type; the inconsistencies are marked with blue, wavy underlines.


You can quickly remove any manual formatting by highlighting the text and pressing (Ctrl + Spacebar). This will leave jus the paragraph style.

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