Reveal and Compare Formatting

Ever find yourself wondering exactly what formatting it is that you’re seeing in your Word document?

Now, if you want a truly complete picture of the text formatting, then we’re talking about more than just the basic font name and size. To get that complete picture we would also be discussing margins, indenting, alignment, tabs and all the rest.

To get that information, we’d have to look in a variety of places; especially if you don’t like using Word’s ruler where some of it would be displayed.

Well, if you’d like a quick way to have Word list this information without all the hunting around through different settings and you have a newer version of Word (one that includes the Task Pane), here’s a tip for you.

To find your formatting info, you need to open the Reveal Formatting portion of the Task Pane.

If the Task Pane is currently open, you can use the down arrow and select Reveal Formatting from the list.

Otherwise, you could use the Format menu, Reveal Formatting choice.

Once the Task Pane is in the Reveal Formatting section, you’re ready to go.

If you click into any paragraph of text, you’ll find that the Task Pane immediately updates the list of formats for that text.

As for the “Compare” part of our tip title.

Do you see the checkbox just below the sample text?

If you want to know the differences between two sets of text, you can use that feature.

  • First, select one set of text to reveal format settings as usual.
  • Now, check the “Compare to another selection” box.
  • At this time, a second sample text box will open. Click into the second set of text that is to be compared to the first.

Instantly, you’ll see a list of the differences in the text formatting. If something isn’t listed, then the two samples match on that point, but only the differences are listed.

If you have other text to compare against the first sample, simply click into the next text to compare.

To start a completely new comparison, you’ll need to clear the checkbox and start again.

Here’s one more little tidbit about the information the Reveal Formatting list is giving you.

Did you notice that the formatting settings are all grouped under a blue underlined subtitle?

This blue word is a link to the location where changes can be made. For example, if you click Margins, the Page Setup window will open at the Margins tab, giving you quick access to make adjustments.

Next time you need to take a look at complete formatting in Word, don’t waste your time going from place to place within the program. Take the express train to Reveal Formatting. You’ll have your formatting information in no time!

~ April