Office challenge: How do you copy formatting to a contiguous block of cells with just two clicks?

This week's Office challenge presents an Excel formatting puzzler and solves the previous challenge by explaining how to prevent Word from updating styles in a document.

Without using the Format menu, try to copy existing formats from the current cell to a contiguous cell or block of cells with just two clicks. You'll have to use a feature you probably don't associate with formatting.

Last week we asked…

How do you inhibit Word's tendency to apply a newly added format to the entire document? Here's what happens: You use a style to format some or all of the document's text. Then, you add a format to a paragraph and Word updates all the text that shares the same style. If that's not what you want, it's annoying.

When this happens, you have two choices. The immediate answer is to press [Ctrl]+Z (Undo) to remove the unintended formatting. To avoid the problem altogether, change the Automatically Update setting as follows:

  1. Choose Styles And Formatting from the Format menu.
  2. Find the style in the style list and choose Modify from that item's drop-down list.
  3. Clear the Automatically Update option at the bottom of the dialog box.

  4. Click OK.

You can set this option for each style, allowing Word to update some, but not others. When this option is checked, Word updates the appropriate style anytime you format the document. This option isn't in Word 2007.


Susan Sales Harkins is an IT consultant, specializing in desktop solutions. Previously, she was editor in chief for The Cobb Group, the world's largest publisher of technical journals.

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