How to copy and paste styles in text documents
Mac Tip #494, 13 July 2011
Is your document full of text pasted in from other places and all of it brought its own styling along? Do you want to get things consistent? Or maybe you’ve specially styled one word and now need miscellaneous other words to use the same styling.
Copy Style and Paste Style allow you to pick up all the style changes you made such as fonts, colours and so on and use that information to format other text. This Tip explains how.
Paste and Match Style
Back in Paste and Match Style, Mac Tip #333, 09 April 2008 I explained how to paste in text from an external source so it would pick up the style of what was already in a document.
For example, you may paste some text from a web page into a Keynote slide.
Many programs give you the option to Paste and Match Style, or Paste Special, or Paste With Current Style. When you choose that option (often the keyboard shortcut is Command Option Shift v) what you’re pasting loses its own formatting and picks up characteristics from the destination.
Sometimes though that’s not convenient, or you forget. Sometimes you just end up with a document that contains a mishmash of styles and you want to get all the text looking exactly right.
Copy and Paste Styles
Many programs give you the option of copying not the text you’ve selected but the styles you’ve applied to that text and pasting only the style or formatting information onto other text. I frequently use that when updating a membership spreadsheet with data copied from email.
Format the text to copy
Make sure the text whose styles you want to copy is correctly formatted with font, colour, background colour and so on.
Copy the style formats
Select the correctly formatted text and find the Toolbar or menu option to
Don’t have the correct buttons on the Toolbar? See Customise Toolbars, Mac Tip #299/25-July-2007
For example, in
Numbers I added the 2 buttons to the Toolbar. In
TextEdit there is no Toolbar, but you can use
Command (⌘) Option (⌥) c and
Command (⌘) Option (⌥) v instead.
Paste the style formats
Select the incorrectly formatted text and find the Toolbar or menu option to
The text should take on the characteristics of the text you copied.
On the spreadsheet I use all the time, the line height is also affected in Copy and Paste Style. In my demo spreadsheet it didn’t work.
Copy and Paste Style is particularly useful when you want to apply a particular format to isolated words or phrases throughout a text. See, for example, my second screenshot where I wanted to apply a ‘display’ style to only the first word in every paragraph.
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Credit where it’s due
This Tip was written by Miraz Jordan, http://mactips.info, and is available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.