Originally published at: http://www.howtogeek.com/166537/how-to-remove-all-formatting-from-selected-text-in-word-2013-documents/
If you’ve copied text from another document and it’s not formatted the way you want, or it has some strange or mixed up formatting, you can easily remove all the formatting from the text and return the text to the default style.
This is misleading. The commands shown do not necessarily return the selection to the "default Normal style." Rather, they revert the character (or paragraph) formatting to that of the underlying style, which may or may not be Normal. Anyone who understands styles will know this, but anyone still struggling to master the concepts will be confused by this misinformation.
I'll agree that the title is a little misleading in this case, though I think in the text we covered our bases:
...click Clear All Formatting in the Font section of the Home tab. The text returns to the default Normal style.
Is there a way to actually remove all formatting from text in Word?
Only by reverting to Normal as shown (with the Clear All button). But in a document of any size using Normal as the base style for ordinary text is a bad idea for a few reasons, chiefly because it is the style on which so many others are based, so edits to it -- deliberate or inadvertent -- will ripple through the others. Word comes with a 'Body Text' style for that purpose. (MS's current idea of what Body Text should look like has not been well-received, but you can edit that style without it affecting others that aren't thematically related.)
Wouldn't it make sense to base the document around a single style - that
way when you update the Normal style, it updates everything in the
Not for docs of any substantial size or complexity. While in the abstract it may sound like a good idea, you rarely want every element of a document to change in unison. Styles in Word, like stylesheets in HTML, are meant to cascade within related groups. For example, styles for the content of tables would probably want to stay single-spaced and unindented even if you changed the style for regular text to be double-spaced and first-line indented. If the table styles are based on Normal and you use Normal for regular body text, the table styles won't stay put when you do that. There are other (often more maddening) repercussions; this is just the most obvious. Admittedly Microsoft has done a terrible job of documenting the proper use of styles; but they are the single most important concept in managing document format issues and deserve more attention than they get.