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Use Format Painter to quickly apply the same formatting, such as color, font style and size, or border style, to multiple pieces of text or graphics. With format painter, you can copy all of the formatting from one object and apply it to another one—think of it as copying and pasting for formatting.

  1. Select the text or graphic that has the formatting that you want to copy.

    Note: If you want to copy text formatting, select a portion of a paragraph. If you want to copy text and paragraph formatting, select an entire paragraph, including the paragraph mark.

  2. To choose Format Painter:

    On the Home tab, select  Format Painter buttonFormat Painter in the Clipboard group. 

    Format painter button on ribbon

    In Outlook from a new message or reply, choose  Format Painter buttonFormat Painter on the Message tab in the Clipboard group.

    If Outlook is using the simplified ribbon, Format Painter buttonFormat Painter is by itself. 

    Format painter simplified button

  3. The cursor changes to a Shows format painter cursor with paintbrushpaintbrush icon.

  4. Use the brush to paint over a selection of text or graphics to apply the formatting. This only works once. To change the format of multiple selections in your document, you must first double-click Format Painter buttonFormat Painter

  5. To stop formatting, press ESC.


  • You can use Ctrl+Shift+Cto copy a format, and Ctrl+Shift+Vto paste a format. While the cursor does not change to a paintbrush, you can repeatedly paste formatting to multiple areas without re-copying. 

  • For graphics, Format Painter works best with drawing objects, such as AutoShapes. However, you can copy formatting from a picture (such as the picture's border).

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