Senior Computer Tutor
Don Edrington Home       Profile

MSWord Format Painter
(whisk broom) Tool

I've been using Microsoft Word since 1989 when it was Version 3 for DOS. At the time Word lagged far behind WordPerfect 5.5 for DOS, but has since become the world's most-used word processor. Over the years I've bought each updated version and have found the advanced features relatively easy to learn.

However, I've had it with Word 2007/2010.

Yes, I will continue studying it in order to help others who have questions — but when I find myself spending more time trying to learn an application than using it I'm ready to go back to a previous version.

Having said that, however, my favorite word processor has become LibreOffice Writer, which is free from Removing Highlights in an MSWord Document

Getting back to Word, a reader called to say she had highlighted a number of phrases in yellow while editing a multi-page document, but that now she could only remove a few of the highlights. We tried all the traditional ways of unhighlighting text during the call, but nothing worked. So I asked her to email me a copy of the file. Well, I found the highlights to be equally intransigent on my computer, so I used a favorite Word tool to accomplish the task — the Format Painter. Format painter brush

Its toolbar icon resembles a little yellow whisk broom, and I use it constantly to format one part of a document to match the formatting in another part. Here's how:

Let's say you have copied and pasted some verbiage into Word (or into OpenOffice Writer) from some Web pages that were created with several different fonts in various sizes and colors — and you would like all the text to appear in one consistent style. Simply drag your cursor over a few words in the preferred format, click on the Format Painter tool, and then drag it over the text you want to change. Voila! Everything matchs. Works like a charm.

Printing a Wide Web Page

Speaking of Web pages, I am frequently told they are too wide for one's printer and that much of the right side of a page does not get printed. Well, since there are no rules governing the width of web pages, they come in all sizes. However, you can print them on a standard sheet "sideways" so the page's width has 11 inches available rather than just 8.5. Go to File>Page Setup and choose Landscape instead of Portrait.

Alternatively, you can click File>Print Preview and choose "Shrink To Fit," whereupon the page will be adjusted accordingly. However, this can make some of the text difficult to read.

My favorite way to print a web page is to simply copy and paste only the part that interests me into a word processing document (or into an outgoing email addressed to myself) and then print the resulting page.

When you print an entire web page you are often wasting paper and ink on all the advertising and other minutiae that surrounds the part you really want. Think about it.

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