An Underutilized Word Tool

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Microsoft Word is so stuffed with features that few of us take advantage of even a small portion of them. Here's one you've likely overlooked that can be a real time saver:

I'm speaking of the Format Painter tool. It works this way: Click on a word in your document or select a bunch of text. Now click the Format Painter tool. The formatting of the word or selected text will be copied. Click elsewhere or select some text in this or another document. The copied formatting is applied to whatever you clicked on or selected.

To bring Format Painter to the fore, follow these steps:

1. In Word v.X select Customize from Word's Tools menu. In Word 2004 select Customize Toolbars/Menus from the Customize submenu in the Tools menu.

2. Click the Commands tab in the resulting Customize window.

3. Select Format in the Categories column and scroll the command column until you see Format Painter (it bears the icon of a small paintbrush).

4. Drag the Format Painter command to an available toolbar and click OK to dismiss the Customize window.

Note: Clicking the Format Painter tool once allows you to paint your formatting a single time. If you double-click on this tool, it will "stick" and you'll be able to apply this same formatting until you press the Mac's Escape key to unstick the tool.

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