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Business Analyst Tip: The Format Painter

Like many of us, I’ve been known to mumble disparaging remarks about Microsoft under my breath while using their tools. But, I have to say there is at least one thing they did right – the format painter. I run into enough people who don’t know about this that I think it is worth mentioning.

Do you want one cell in Excel to look exactly like another, but don’t remember what font, color, etc. you chose? Do you want some text in Word to be formatted just like the text from 2 pages ago? Do you want a process step in Visio to have the same shading, line type, etc. as another process step? In all cases the format painter comes to the rescue.

The icon for the format painter is the paint brush: The Format Painter

Using it is easy. All you have to do is select the item with the format you want to copy, click the format painter, and then select the item you want formatted like the original. Done. Oh, and if you want multiple items to have the same format, just double-click the format painter. You can use it on multiple items, until you press Escape.

I hope the person who thought of the format painter got a really big bonus. And I hope this business analyst tip helps you work more efficiently, so you can get a really big bonus, too.

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