It’s the nightmare that we’ve all had: you’ve opened a document in Word, started to edit it and “it’s all gone wrong” which can usually be translated as the look & feel (or Formatting”) of the document isn’t working how you want it to (especially in bulleted lists). This is usually as a result of other users applying different formats before you and, put simply, Word gets confused. A simple analogy is to think of getting dressed… it’s a cold day, so you layer up… but then it gets warm, so you put a T-shirt on… over your existing clothes… the temperature drops again, so you pull on a woolly jumper… and so it goes on until you end up looking like the Michelin Man… So, clothing-wise, it’s easier to take them all off & dress appropriately for the weather; back in Word, it may be easier to remove all formatting back to the basic document and start again…
The Michelin Man look is not good for Word documents
Be safe not sorry
Before we remove any formatting, it’s a good idea to save a separate copy of the document so that once the formatting has been removed you can compare to the original document to ensure that the new one looks as intended; I tend to use a suffix such as V2 or “Unformatted”.
Removing the formatting
Once we’ve done that, we need to remove all of the formatting to get back to the original, plain text…
The first step is to select all of the text in the document by using CTRL+A and then, from the Home Tab, click the Clear All Formatting button
Yes, it’s that simple… a single button!
Reapplying final formatting
So, having removed the formatting and saved the unformatted document, reopen the original document & view them side by side by going to the View Tab ❶, selecting Side by Side ❷, selecting the document that you’d like to see ❸ & clicking OK ❹
You can then use the formatted document as your guide when reformatting your “plain” version, the difference being that your new version will only have one level of formatting applied to it