When Working Harder Goes Wrong: Microsoft Word Troubles

computerNeil Malek will teach you anything with a power button. Through hands-on courses, seminars, webinars, and YouTube videos, he covers Microsoft, Adobe, Apple, and Google topics.  How do I know this?  I have attended many of his programs over the years.

There’s a common story among professionals – the day before a big presentation, event or court case, two or more people finally finish their documents, and at about 4:15 p.m., it gets handed to the person who will combine the documents.

You probably know what happens next.

When you copy-and-paste the content from one document into another, the fonts don’t match. There are titles that are 16pt font and others that are 18pt font. Halfway through the document, you realize that the font switched from Arial to Arial Narrow and nobody noticed. You finally finish fine-tuning the document around 11:30 p.m. exhausted. You missed your kid’s soccer game, and ate Doritos for dinner.

The next day people still find inconsistencies in the document you created. You pound your head silently against your desk in frustration.

So, instead of working harder, next time you should work smarter. Here’s how:

Every word of your Microsoft Word document starts out as Normal Style, which in the older versions of Word was Times New Roman, and now is Calibri. Then, your coworkers started selecting bits of text and changing fonts. Take a moment, right now, and do these steps on a document that has multiple fonts, sizes, and colors:

Use the keyboard shortcut [Ctrl] + [A] (select all). You should have all your text highlighted. Now, go up to your Home Tab and select the Clear Formatting button. You should see all those different fonts, sizes, and colors clear away immediately.


Rather than take somebody else’s mess and push forward, stripping away all the nonsense can make it much easier to make everything look right.

If you want to make the right changes going forward, right-click the Normal Style on the Home Tab and select Modify… This will let you change your whole document, simultaneously. Now, instead of Calibri, you can use the font your company wants you to use.


If you really want to work smarter, apply the Heading 1, Heading 2, and other styles on the Home Tab. Remember, right-click any style and choose Modify… to make that style look like you want it to.

It should take 30% of the time it used to in order to fix other people’s messes now!

Thanks Neil for the excellent tips and blog contribution!

Connect with Neil Malek today or watch him on YouTube.


  1. Great Tip Stacy! Thanks for the step-by-step instruction. . .love learning new ways to make our jobs easier and Neil is definitely one of my favorite resources for doing that.

  2. Great advice!

    Another tip I have used is to copy and paste into Notepad and then back out to a fresh Word document. This gets rid of all formatting (indents, tab, breaks, fonts, spacing, etc…) Somewhat extreme, but has proven helpful on occasion.

    1. Excellent recommendation, Matt! Like you said, if you’re dealing with tabs and other nonsense, it can be helpful to make a pit stop in a program like Notepad that doesn’t handle them.

      Another supplemental tip on this post is: Click File > Options > Advanced. When you get there, there’s a section called Cut, Copy, & Paste. You’ll find that you can change how text is handled when you copy-and-paste it in: I use Keep Text Only when I’m pasting from another program, and you can do something similar when it’s between two documents.

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