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Copying Text Attributes With Format Painter in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac

Learn how to use the Format Painter command effectively to copy text attributes in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac. This technique only copies text formatting, and leave any other formatting uncopied.

The Format Painter option does an amazing job of copying all your formatting attributes from one slide object to another. For example, you can copy all attributes of a shape (and even the text that the shape contains) to another shape, text box, or even a text placeholder. However, this is an all-or-nothing option. Sometimes, you may want to just copy the text formatting attributes, such as your text effects, or font styles, without copying the shape fill or any of the other shape attributes. This can be even more puzzling when your text by itself is formatted in more than one style. See Figure 1, below where text within a text box is formatted in two different styles. While the word "Text" uses a purple fill with a double outlined border, the word "Box" uses a gradient fill with a border in a darker color. Selecting the entire text box, and then copying its attributes to another text box using the Format Painter will never replicate two text styles. So, clearly there has to be a better way! That's the reason for this tutorial.

Figure 1: Text box formatted in two different text styles

Let us imagine we want to copy only the text formatting of word "Box", and ignore the green fill of the container text box, and also the way the word "Text" is formatted. To do that, follow these steps in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac:

  1. Select carefully only the word from which you want to copy the text attributes. We selected the word "Box" since we have to copy its formatting, but you can even get the same results by selecting just one alphabet. Then, with the word or the alphabet still selected, click on the Format Painter button that you can see on the Standard Toolbar, as shown in Figure 2 (highlighted in red).

  2. Figure 2: Selected text's text attributes being copied with Format Painter
  3. Want readymade text effects to use in your PowerPoint slides? Visit our PowerPoint Text Effects page, and download hundreds of pre-created text styles!
  4. This changes the cursor into a Paintbrush icon (highlighted in red within Figure 3, below). Take this changed cursor on to the text to which you want to copy the selected text attributes, as shown in Figure 3.

  5. Figure 3: Copied text attributes being pasted on to the new text

  6. Click on the text to paste the copied text attributes to the new text as shown in Figure 4.

  7. Figure 4: Text attributes pasted on to the new text
  8. Note that the copied text attributes are pasted to only one word "New", and not to the word "Text". This is because there is a space separating those two words. If you want to paste the copied text attributes to the entire text in the target text container, then you have to double-click the Format Painter button instead of just clicking it once, so that it remains selected. Then, go on clicking on each and every word in the target text container with the cursor that has been changed to a Paintbrush. When you are done, click the Format Painter button again, or just press the Esc key on the keyboard to deselect it.
  9. Alternatively, you can delete all spaces and apply the formatting with the Format Painter, and then, recreate the spaces.
  10. If you have plenty of text and don't want to painstakingly click with the Format Painter on each word, or even delete spaces, then follow this approach:
  11. i. Format the text in a text container as required. Just one word formatted in the text container should suffice, as shown in our previous example in Figure 4, above.
  12. ii. Then, copy the text from another source. This source can be text in another slide, or even a Word document, or any text from any application that you can copy to the clipboard. Then paste this copied text next to the formatted text. Doing so will reveal a Smart Tag, as shown in Figure 5, below (highlighted in red).

  13. Figure 5: New text copied and pasted next to the formatted text
  14. iii. Click the Smart Tag to bring up a small menu, also visible in Figure 5, above.
  15. iv. In this menu select the Keep Text Only option. This will result in the pasted text being formatted as the existing text within the text container (see Figure 6, below).

  16. Figure 6: New text replicates existing text formatting
  17. Save your presentation often.

See Also:

Copying Text Attributes With Format Painter in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows
Copying Text Attributes With Format Painter in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows