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How to use the format painter to duplicate formatting in powerpoint

Marshall Gunnell is a writer with experience in the data storage industry. He worked at Synology, and most recently as CMO and technical staff writer at StorageReview. He’s currently an API/Software Technical Writer at LINE Corporation in Tokyo, Japan, runs ITEnterpriser, a data-storage and cybersecurity-focused online media, and plays with development, with his RAID calculator being his first public project. Read more.

How to use the format painter to duplicate formatting in powerpoint

Microsoft PowerPoint has a neat little tool that allows you to copy and paste the formatting of a text string or object. Here’s how you can copy the formatting rules from one object and paste it in the next.

Open your PowerPoint presentation, navigate to the slide that contains the text or object with the formatting you want to copy, and then select it. For our example, we select our “How-To Geek” title text.

How to use the format painter to duplicate formatting in powerpoint

Here’s the current formatting of our text:

  • Font type: Gill Sans MT
  • Font size: 40 pt
  • Font color: Light blue

Next, click the Format Painter icon (the paintbrush) in the “Clipboard” group under the “Home” tab.

The format of the selected object or text is copied to the format painter, and the cursor will now have a paintbrush icon next to it. Highlight the text or object to which you want to apply the formatting.

As shown below, the selected text automatically reformats to match the format of the text you copied to the Format Painter.

If you want to change the format of multiple objects or text strings, you can do so without having to go through this whole process again.

Instead of just clicking it once, double-click the Format Painter icon in the “Clipboard” group under the “Home” tab. This allows you to format as many text strings or objects as necessary. When you’re finished, just press Esc or click the Format Painter icon.

Microsoft PowerPoint has a neat little tool that allows you to copy and paste the formatting of a text string or object. Here’s how you can copy the formatting rules from one object and paste it in the next.

Open your PowerPoint presentation, navigate to the slide that contains the text or object with the formatting you want to copy, and then select it. For our example, we select our “How-To Geek” title text.

Here’s the current formatting of our text:

  • Font type: Gill Sans MT
  • Font size: 40 pt
  • Font color: Light blue

Next, click the Format Painter icon (the paintbrush) in the “Clipboard” group under the “Home” tab.

The format of the selected object or text is copied to the format painter, and the cursor will now have a paintbrush icon next to it. Highlight the text or object to which you want to apply the formatting.

As shown below, the selected text automatically reformats to match the format of the text you copied to the Format Painter.

If you want to change the format of multiple objects or text strings, you can do so without having to go through this whole process again.

Instead of just clicking it once, double-click the Format Painter icon in the “Clipboard” group under the “Home” tab. This allows you to format as many text strings or objects as necessary. When you’re finished, just press Esc or click the Format Painter icon.

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How can you save time applying consistent formatting to your work in Microsoft Office? The answer is the Format Painter which duplicates formatting in Microsoft Excel, Word, PowerPoint, and other popular Office applications. Often, we waste too much time trying to figure out how a worksheet, document, or presentation is formatted. With the Format Painter, you simply select the formatting you want to copy and apply it to other content.

Continue reading to discover the steps to duplicate formatting with the Format Painter or watch this training video:

To copy formatting with the Format Painter:

  1. First, select the “good stuff”, that is, the content with the formatting you want to apply to another location. The Format Painter only copies the appearance, not the content. For example, the selection might be a column heading in an Excel worksheet, a heading in a Word document, or an image in a PowerPoint presentation.
  2. Next, click on the Format Painter icon in the Clipboard group of the Home tab in the Ribbon. The icon looks like a paintbrush. Now your pointer or cursor has changed to a paintbrush.
  3. To copy the selected formatting, either click once into another location or click and drag to duplicate formatting.

What if you want to duplicate formatting to more than one location? It’s easy.

To copy formatting to more than one location:

  1. As before, select the “good stuff,” the content with the formatting you want to apply to another location.
  2. This time, double-clickthe Format Painter icon, which keeps this option turned on or enabled. Once again, your pointer becomes a paintbrush.
  3. Now, click or drag wherever you’d like to duplicate formatting.
  4. To stop the Format Painter, either click once on the icon or press [Esc].

Format Painter Keyboard Shortcuts

Although working with the Format Painter icon may be all you need, some Office applications also support keyboard shortcuts to copy formatting. The keyboard shortcuts are:

  • Copy Formatting: [Ctrl] + [Shift] + C
  • Paste Formatting: [Ctrl] + [Shift] + V

To use the Format Pointer keyboard shortcuts:

  1. First, select the content with the formatting you want to copy, that is, the “good stuff.”
  2. Next, press [Ctrl] + [Shift] + C to copy the formatting from the selection. You won’t see any visible feedback that the formatting was copied.
  3. To duplicate the formatting, select the content where you want to apply the formatting and press [Ctrl] + [Shift] + V.
  4. No other steps are needed.

Although Excel doesn’t support these keyboard shortcuts, they work in many other Microsoft Office applications including PowerPoint, Outlook, and OneNote.

Word Tip: Even though Format Painter is a handy feature in Microsoft Word, it’s not the best choice for longer Word documents. To easily duplicate and even update the formatting in multiple page files, work with the Styles feature instead.

Discover more Microsoft Office tips and tricks at TheSoftwarePro.com/Office.

By Dawn Bjork, MCT, MOSM, CVP, The Software Pro®
Microsoft Certified Trainer, Productivity Speaker, Certified Virtual Presenter

  1. Format an object the way you like; it could be a shape, some text, or an image.
  2. Insert another object.
  3. Select the first object and click Format Painter on the Home tab in the Clipboard group.
  4. Click the second object to copy the formatting.

Tip: Double-click the Format Painter button to keep it “on” and apply the formatting to multiple objects, one after another. When you’re done, click Format Painter once to turn it back “off.”

Pick Up Style and Apply Style are less well-known because they are not on the ribbon. They’re similar to Format Painter but have 2 advantages:

  • The style that you pick up remains available to you even after you do other tasks. It also may be easier when you need to apply a style on a different slide.
  • Apply Style is often easier to use for text; in my experience, it’s sometimes hard to select text when the Format Painter is active.

I recommend that you put these commands on the Quick Access Toolbar. I explain how in “Work Faster in PowerPoint.” (You’ll find some other cool tricks there, too.) But you can also use the (faster) keyboard shortcuts which are:

  • Ctrl+Shift+C: Pick Up Style
  • Ctrl+Shift+V: Apply Style

Think of these as variations of the well-known Copy and Paste shortcuts but by adding the Shift key, you’re copying the formatting instead of the object itself.

2) Change Picture and Change Shape

Again, I’m combining 2 techniques because they are similar–and both very useful.

You can use the Format Painter or Pick Up and Apply Style on a picture or shape, but let’s say you want to change the image or shape without losing the formatting. This saves you from inserting a new picture and having to copy the formatting.

How to use the format painter to duplicate formatting in powerpointHere are the steps to change a picture without losing the formatting:

  1. Right-click the image and choose Change Picture.
  2. Then choose the source of your picture. I usually use From a File but notice the other options. You can even choose from a picture that you copied to the clipboard.
  3. Find the specific picture (if not from the clipboard) and select it.

PowerPoint changes the picture but keeps the formatting.

You can use a similar technique to change a shape without losing the formatting. Here are the steps:

  1. Select the shape.
  2. Click the Format tab and choose Edit Shape, Change Shape in the Insert Shapes group.
  3. Choose the shape you want from the Shapes Gallery.

PowerPoint changes the shape but keeps the formatting.

3) Animation Painter

You can also copy animation easily since PowerPoint 2010. It works like the Format Painter.

  1. Select an object that you have animated.
  2. On the Animations tab, click Animation Painter.
  3. Click another object to apply the same animation to it.

Like the Format Painter, you can double-click the Animation Painter to apply animation to multiple objects and then click it once to turn it off.

There are some other techniques to reduce formatting time and save chart formatting, but I’ll save those for another post.

Do you have some shortcuts that you use to save time formatting? Leave a comment and please use the Social Media share buttons below to share this post!

How to use the format painter to duplicate formatting in powerpoint

Microsoft PowerPoint has a neat little tool that allows you to copy and paste the formatting of a text string or object. Here’s how you can copy the formatting rules from one object and paste it in the next.

Open your PowerPoint presentation, navigate to the slide that contains the text or object with the formatting you want to copy, and then select it. For our example, we select our “How-To Geek” title text.

How to use the format painter to duplicate formatting in powerpoint

Here’s the current formatting of our text:

  • Font type: Gill Sans MT
  • Font size: 40 pt
  • Font color: Light blue

Next, click the Format Painter icon (the paintbrush) in the “Clipboard” group under the “Home” tab.

The format of the selected object or text is copied to the format painter, and the cursor will now have a paintbrush icon next to it. Highlight the text or object to which you want to apply the formatting.

As shown below, the selected text automatically reformats to match the format of the text you copied to the Format Painter.

How to use the format painter to duplicate formatting in powerpoint

If you want to change the format of multiple objects or text strings, you can do so without having to go through this whole process again.

Instead of just clicking it once, double-click the Format Painter icon in the “Clipboard” group under the “Home” tab. This allows you to format as many text strings or objects as necessary. When you’re finished, just press Esc or click the Format Painter icon.

In this article, you will learn how to use the Format Painter in PowerPoint. By doing so, you can save time a lot of time. However, I can promise you that by the end of this article, this tool might become your new favorite PowerPoint function!

Before we go in depth with this PowerPoint tutorial, we’d first like to mention that repetition is one of the main principles of design. Repetition ties together individual design elements and makes any design consistent; it also gives the appearance of rhythm, coherence, and organization. This is why using a single theme for your PowerPoint slides is important as it helps convey to your audience that your presentation is well-planned and well-prepared.

This is where the Format Painter comes in: when you implement this design principle (repetition), you’d need to copy and paste the setup of different elements. Without Format Painter, you’d need to do this action several times. It can get boring really fast! Especially if you’ve got a hundred different PowerPoint slides to go through.

To achieve a consistent design look and appearance among your PowerPoint slides, you’d need to copy different formats of different objects to achieve the look you want. Imagine how long it would take you to format all objects with a variety of different properties if you do it one by one. Format Painter will not only help you save time; it just might save your sanity!

With painter formatting, you only need to format an object once, and you can copy its setup onto many other elements or objects with just a few clicks!

Before you get started with this tutorial, I recommend you have a look at these fundamental principles of presentation design: arrangement, differentiation and white space.

Using this function in PowerPoint is a very straightforward business, and we’ll discuss each step here:

Step 1. Click on the object whose format you want to copy. In this example, we would like to copy the format of Object 1 into Object 2.

Object 1 has the following properties:

  • Lato Black for the font
  • 60 for the font size
  • Orange for the font color
  • Italicized
  • Underlined

Object 2 has the following properties:

  • Calibre for the font
  • 24 for the font size
  • Black for the font color

We will now click and highlight Object 1.

How to use the format painter to duplicate formatting in powerpoint

(Caption: How to use Format Painter in PowerPoint – click the first object)

Step 2. Go to the Home tab on your ribbon, and click on the button Format Painter or press Ctrl+Shift+C on your keyboard.

How to use the format painter to duplicate formatting in powerpoint

(Caption: The tool is located in the Home tab)

When you click on Format Painter, the mouse pointer will change to a paintbrush icon, like this:

(Caption: When your pointer changes to this paintbrush icon, you’re ready to proceed to Step 3)

Step 3. Click the object you want to copy object 1’s format into. In this case, we will click on the text ‘Object 2’. Alternatively, you can press Ctrl+Shift+V on your keyboard.

This is what happens:

How to use the format painter to duplicate formatting in powerpoint

(Caption: Click on the second object you’d like to paste the first object’s format into)

And that’s it! As you can see, this tool is very easy and very straightforward in PowerPoint.

Now, what about if you want to copy Object 1’s format into many other objects?

There’s really no secret button to copying one object’s format into multiple objects in any number of PowerPoint slides. All you have to do is just double-click on the Format Painter icon and click on the objects you’d like to copy Object 1’s format into.

Moreover, the function is active for as long as your mouse pointer is set to a paintbrush icon.

Once you’ve formatted all the elements you want to format, simply press the ESC button on your keyboard, and your mouse pointer will reset to its default settings.

With Format Painter, you’re not limited to copying formats of objects in a single PowerPoint file; you can copy formats from other PowerPoint files too! So if you like the look of an object in another PowerPoint file, simply use the painter formatting tool to paint or copy the object’s format. You don’t need to go look up all the different properties and try to apply the format manually to your new PowerPoint file.

In addition to copying and pasting font styles like we’ve shown in the example above, you can also use the painter formatting tool to copy following:

  • Shapes’ outline colors, fill colors, effects, etc.
  • Pictures’ border, effects, styles, etc.
  • Texts or paragraphs´ format (including WordArt in PowerPoint 2013 and 2016)
  • Graphics’ format

There’s no denying that the Format Painter tool is extremely useful in PowerPoint, but it’s not going to do everything for you. Here are instances where you can’t use Format Painter to help you save some time:

  • You can copy a picture’s format (border, effects, styles) but you can’t copy the picture. You’ll have to use good old copy and paste to do that.
  • You can’t copy and enlarge shapes (copy and paste will do it for you though).
  • Also, you can’t copy the animation effects of an object (you can use a similar tool in Animation tab called ‘Animation Painter’).

The painter formatting tool is a literal life-saver. Additionally, it has saved many people countless hours of individually and manually formatting texts, shapes, images, and more. All you have to do is just format an object once, and you can copy its properties into an unlimited number of objects. Yet, if you’re working on a hundred-slide presentation, imagine how long it would take you to copy and paste formatting of objects into many other objects. So, save yourself from multiple headaches and use the Format Painter tool in PowerPoint right away!

At 24slides, we create world-class PowerPoint presentation designs, animations, and infographics. Take a look at some of our presentation examples and get an instant quote.

How to use the format painter to duplicate formatting in powerpoint

Microsoft PowerPoint has a neat little tool that allows you to copy and paste the formatting of a text string or object. Here’s how you can copy the formatting rules from one object and paste it in the next.

Open your PowerPoint presentation, navigate to the slide that contains the text or object with the formatting you want to copy, and then select it. For our example, we select our “How-To Geek” title text.

How to use the format painter to duplicate formatting in powerpoint

Here’s the current formatting of our text:

  • Font type: Gill Sans MT
  • Font size: 40 pt
  • Font color: Light blue

Next, click the Format Painter icon (the paintbrush) in the “Clipboard” group under the “Home” tab.

The format of the selected object or text is copied to the format painter, and the cursor will now have a paintbrush icon next to it. Highlight the text or object to which you want to apply the formatting.

As shown below, the selected text automatically reformats to match the format of the text you copied to the Format Painter.

How to use the format painter to duplicate formatting in powerpoint

If you want to change the format of multiple objects or text strings, you can do so without having to go through this whole process again.

Instead of just clicking it once, double-click the Format Painter icon in the “Clipboard” group under the “Home” tab. This allows you to format as many text strings or objects as necessary. When you’re finished, just press Esc or click the Format Painter icon.

How to Use the Picture Format Painter in PowerPoint

How to use the format painter to duplicate formatting in powerpoint

Changing the visual style of a picture or graphic can enhance how it appears on the slide.

Choose a Style

  1. Select the picture.
  2. Click the Format tab on the ribbon.
  3. Click the Quick Styles button in the Picture Style group.
  4. Select a style.

How to use the format painter to duplicate formatting in powerpoint

Modify a Style

After a style has been applied, modify different elements of the preset style for a more customized look.

  1. Select the picture.
  2. Click the Format tab on the ribbon.
  3. Use the tools in the Picture Styles group to edit the picture style.
    • Picture Border: Adjust the border color and thickness.
    • Picture Effects: Add or remove complicated effects like glow and bevel.
    • Picture Layout: Add text and reshape the picture to create SmartArt.

How to use the format painter to duplicate formatting in powerpoint

Change the Picture

You can swap one picture for another while keeping any of the picture style options that are already applied.

  1. With the picture selected, click the Change Picture button in the Adjust group on the Format tab.
  2. Select the type of picture you want to insert.

How to use the format painter to duplicate formatting in powerpoint

How to use the format painter to duplicate formatting in powerpoint

The picture is swapped out, but the style remains the same.

Use the Format Painter

Once you have one picture styled the way you like, you can use the Format Painter to apply the same style to another picture.

  1. With the formatted picture selected, click the Home tab.
  2. Click the Format Painter button.

Single-click the Format Painter button to apply the copied formatting once. Double-click the Format Painter button to apply a copied format multiple times.

The cursor now has a paintbrush symbol next to it, indicating the Format Painter is turned on.

Click another picture.

How to use the format painter to duplicate formatting in powerpoint

The same style and formatting is applied to the selected picture.

It’s quick and easy to copy over a design template

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What to Know

  • In the source presentation, select View >Slide Master. In the Slide pane, right-click the Slide Master and select Copy.
  • Go to View >Switch Windows and choose the second presentation. Go to View >Slide Master. Right-click the Slide pane and select Paste.
  • Choose Use Destination Theme (keeps colors, fonts, and effects) or Keep Source Formatting (copies the source’s colors, fonts, effects).

This article explains how to copy a PowerPoint design template over to another presentation. Instructions apply to PowerPoint 2019, PowerPoint 2016, PowerPoint 2013, and PowerPoint for Microsoft 365.

How to Copy a Presentation’s Design Template

It’s often quicker to copy a design template from a presentation than to find it in the list of PowerPoint templates.

Go to View in the presentation that contains the design template you want to copy and select Slide Master.

How to use the format painter to duplicate formatting in powerpoint

Right-click the Slide Master in the Slide pane on the left side of the screen and select Copy.

The Slide Master is the large thumbnail image at the top of the Slide pane. Some presentations contain more than one slide master.

How to use the format painter to duplicate formatting in powerpoint

Go to View, select Switch Windows, and choose the presentation you want to paste the Slide Master into.

If you don’t see the other PowerPoint presentation on this list, it means that the other file isn’t open. Open it now and return to this step to select it from the list.

How to use the format painter to duplicate formatting in powerpoint

In the second presentation, go to View and select Slide Master to open the Slide Master.

How to use the format painter to duplicate formatting in powerpoint

To insert the Slide Master from the other presentation, right-click on the Slide pane to the left, select Paste, and do one of the following:

  • Choose Use Destination Theme to keep the theme colors, fonts, and effects of the presentation you are pasting to.
  • Choose Keep Source Formatting to copy the theme colors, fonts, and effects of the template you are copying from.

Select Close Master View.

Changes made to individual slides in the original presentation, such as font styles, do not change the design template of that presentation. Therefore, graphic objects or font changes added to individual slides do not copy over to a new presentation.