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Smart & Easy Software Tips: Format Painter
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Smart & Easy Software Tips, Tricks & Techniques
2006 - Issue #5, Volume 3
Publisher: Dawn Bjork Buzbee mailto:Dawn@SoftwarePro.com
The Software Pro(R), Certified Microsoft Office Expert
In This Issue: Quickly Copy Formatting with the Format Painter
Microsoft Office programs offer a quick way to copy formatting from one item--such as text in Word, a cell in Excel, a shape in PowerPoint, or even a form control in Access--to another. The key is the Format Painter and it might be the most helpful toolbar button you've never used.
Learn more about:
* How the Format Painter Works
* Why the Format Painter?
* Using the Format Painter in Microsoft Word
* Using the Format Painter in Microsoft Excel
* Using the Format Painter in Microsoft PowerPoint
How the Format Painter Works
Whether you are using Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access or even Publisher, the Format Painter works the same basic way:
1. First, select the "good stuff", that is, the text, cells, or object with the formatting you want to duplicate.
2. Next, look on your Standard toolbar for a yellow paintbrush tool.
3. Click once on the Format Painter paintbrush tool. Your mouse pointer turns into a paintbrush icon.
4. Finally, select or click and drag on the text, cells, or objects you want to take on the selected format.
To see how the Format Painter looks and works:
BONUS TIP: If you want to apply the same formatting to more than one item, select the formatting you want, and double-click the Format Painter tool, and then select the item you want to apply formatting to. You can continue to repeatedly apply formatting and then press [Esc] to cancel.
Why the Format Painter?
Let's say you've written a report in Word. You like the look, especially your headings. Now, the challenge is to duplicate the look of the headings to all of the other titles in your report. The solution for many Word experts could be to apply styles. Creating and using styles are a fabulous time-saver for long, repetitive documents but are often unnecessary for many types of work. Plus, other Office programs don't support styles as fully as in Word.
Regardless of the Microsoft Office program, the Format Painter saves you time and avoids duplicating effort. Instead of having to manually apply the font, alignment, and other formatting to each section of text or graphic object, you can quickly copy all of the formatting attributes by using one toolbar button.
Using the Format Painter in Microsoft Word
To copy formatting with the Format Painter in Microsoft Word, do one of the following:
1. To copy both paragraph attributes (such as alignment, indentation, and so on) and character attributes (such as font and font effects), select the text with formatting you want to copy plus the paragraph mark following the text.
To copy only character attributes, select the text without selecting the paragraph mark.
TIP: To turn on or off the display of paragraph marks and other non-printing characters in Word, press [Ctrl] + *
2. On the Standard toolbar, click the Format Painter toolbar button.
3. Select the text you want to apply the formatting to. The text takes on the new formatting.
Using the Format Painter in Microsoft Excel
To quickly copy formatting of cells (such as borders, fills, text formats, or number formats) and to apply that formatting to other cells:
1. Select a cell with the formatting you want to copy.
2. Do one of the following:
* To copy the formatting to a single cell or range of cells, click the Format Painter toolbar button, then drag the mouse pointer across the cell or range of cells you want to format.
* To copy the formatting to several cells or ranges of cells, double-click the Format Painter toolbar button, and then drag the mouse pointer across each cell or range of cells you want to format. When you're done, either click Format Painter again and press [Esc] to turn it off.
TIP: To copy the width of one column in an Excel worksheet to a second column, select the heading of the first column, pick the Format Painter toolbar button, and then click the heading of the column you want to apply the column width to.
Using the Format Painter in Microsoft PowerPoint
In PowerPoint, you can use the Format Painter to apply text formatting and some basic graphics formatting, such as borders and fills.
1. Select the text or graphic or other object with the formatting you want to copy.
2. Click the Format Painter toolbar button on the Standard toolbar to change the pointer to a paintbrush icon. Double-click to apply formatting to more than one block of text or graphic.
3. Click the text or graphic you want to format. To apply formatting to more than one block of text or graphic, select each of them, one at a time.
NOTE: For graphics, the Format Painter works best with drawing objects, such as AutoShapes. The Format Painter can't copy the font or font size on WordArt text.
Save time and effort in Microsoft Office by formatting in one step with the Format Painter.
Please pass this along to others who may appreciate it!
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