Maintaining a large document can take a lot of work. For instance, if you wanted to delete several paragraphs, you’d probably do so visually, one by one. On the other hand, if the paragraphs you need to delete are using a unique style, you can use Word’s Find and Replace feature to delete them all at once.

Let’s look at a quick example. The following document uses the built-in style Subtle Emphasis for the introductory paragraphs in each new section. All other paragraphs use Normal. You can only see one page of the document, but it could have dozens of introductory paragraphs.

To delete the introductory paragraphs using styles, do the following:

  1. Click the Home tab and then click Replace in the Editing group. In Word 2003, choose Replace from the Edit menu. Or, press [Ctrl]+H.
  2. Click More, if necessary.
  3. Click inside the Find What control. Delete the entry, if there’s anything there.
  4. From the Format dropdown, choose Style.
  5. In the resulting dialog, find the style. In this case, that’s Subtle Emphasis, and click OK.
  6. If there’s anything in the Replace With control, delete it.
  7. Click Replace All.
  8. Click Yes and then OK.

Word deleted all of the introductory paragraphs.

Word will delete all instances of this style, so be careful when using this technique. If you applied this style to other components, such as captions, this method will also delete your captions! When that’s the case, use Next and Replace to review each occurrence and decide individually, instead of using Replace All.