Retain italics/bold/underline when applying style?



I have some text that includes basic character formatting such as italics,
bold, and underlining. When I apply a paragraph style, the
italics/bold/underlining is removed.

Is there any way to apply a style (which includes a font and some paragraph
formatting) and to retain the italics/bold/underlining from the original text?

I'm using Word 2003.





P.S. What I'm seeing is a little strange. In some cases the original
character formatting (italics/bold/underline) is retained when I apply the
new paragraph style, and in other cases it's not. Apparently it depends on
the amount of the italics/bold/underlining in the original. If there's a lot,
it's all removed when the style is applied; if there's only a little, it's

I'd like to retain the original italics/bold/underlining in every case. I
don't want to have to carefully proofread each paragraph.

Any suggestions? Thanks.

Lene Fredborg

What you have observed is correct: If more than half the text in the
paragraph has been applied bold, italics, underline or other types of direct
formatting, this formatting is overridden when you apply a style, otherwise
the direct formatting is preserved. See:

You could do as follows:
Highlight color is not overridden when you apply a style no matter the
amount of text highlighted in a paragraph. You can take advantage of this:
1. In the highlight icon, select a color that has not been used in the
2. In the Find and Replace dialog (Ctrl+H), make sure the “Find what†and
“Replace with†fields are empty.
3. Click in the “Find what†field and press Ctrl+B (shortcut for Bold) –
make sure that “Font: Bold†is shown as the only format below the field.
3. Click in the “Replace with†field. Click the “More†button. Then select
Format > Highlight – make sure that “Font: Highlight†is shown as the only
format below the field.
4. Click “Replace Allâ€.

Now all your bold text should be formatted with the selected highlight color
(the bold formatting has not been removed).

Repeat the steps above for italic and underline (first select a unique
highlight color for each).

Now you can reformat your document. The highlight colors will remain. When
finished, use the “Find and Replace†dialog box to find the highlighted text
one bit at a time:

You could split the replacement in two steps: If the bold, italic or
underline is still there (because less than half the paragraph had direct
formatting or because of a bold style), you could start searching for text
that is “Font: Bold, Highlightâ€. Replace with “Font Bold, Not Highlightâ€
(select Highlight twice to display “Not Highlight†– first click “No
Formatting†to clear all formatting if needed). Click “Replace Allâ€. Repeat
for italic and underline.

Now you must apply bold, italic and underline to the text that is still
highlighted. In Find and Replace, you must find “Highlight†format and
replace with format “Font: Bold, Not Highlightâ€. Since the dialog box does
not distinguish between different highlight colors, you need to step through
the highlighted pieces one by one using the “Find Next†button and determine
whether to replace the found formatting with bold or not. Repeat for the
other two colors.

Note that it would be possible to write two macros that could do all the
above automatically – one for the preparation and one to reapply the

Also note that if part of the text has e.g. both bold and italic applied,
you would need more variations of the highlight colors to keep track of this.

Lene Fredborg - Microsoft MVP (Word)
DocTools - Denmark
Document automation - add-ins, macros and templates for Microsoft Word



Klaus Linke

Hi Eric, Lene,

If it's just the problem of applying another paragraph style without
touching the manual font formatting (... no matter if it's applied to more
or less than half the characters), you can replace with the style you want
to apply.

In "Find what", you could use the paragraph mark ^p.
Or if you want to replace some style throughout the document, you could use
that style in "Find what".

For heavy-duty clean-up tasks, I use a method similar to Lene's, but apply
tags for <b>bold</b>, <i>italics</i> ... instead of different highlight
Later, I can strip these tags out again and reapply the manual formatting
with wildcard replacements (Find what: \<b\>(*)\</b\> Replace with: \1 [+
bold] ...).

One difficulty is that it's not easy to differentiate between, say, bold
that is applied manually and bold that's applied through a
[paragraph/character/table] style.

I use a macro that creates a new doc, in which all paragraph styles look
just like the "Normal" paragraph style, and all character styles look just
like the "Default Paragraph Font".
If I copy/paste the text into that new document, all formatting that's done
through styles disappears, and just manual formatting remains visible.
Now it's much easier to clean up, and if I later copy/paste all the text
back into the original document, the formatting that was done through styles


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