How to Combine Word Files Without Merging the Format

by Filonia LeChat
Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images

Microsoft Word might not be your first choice for creating and maintaining a digital scrapbook, but the application does allow you to cut, copy and paste among its pages like you were clipping and gluing in real life. With Word, you do have to be careful if you want to combine files without changing the original format. An inadvertent click could result in the current document taking on the look of the one you’re pasting into instead of the one you're pasting from. It’s fairly easy to retain control over formatting in Word, even when combining files. Stay on guard when you have the urge to merge.

Step 1

Launch Word and open the file that you want to merge into another file. Click the "Home" tab if it is not enabled, and then click the “Select” button on the ribbon. Click “Select All.” The entire document is highlighted.

Step 2

Right-click anywhere in the highlighted area and choose “Copy.” If you happen to click off the highlight before you copy, repeat the "Select All" process. You can now close this document if you like.

Step 3

Open the second Word file. Scroll to the place in this document where you want to merge in the first file, such as at the very end of the document.

Step 4

Press “Ctrl-Enter” to add a new page with a page break for the copied document. You can also just click the cursor and press the “Enter” key for a line break if desired.

Right-click anywhere in the new space and select “Paste.” The copied document pastes in, keeping its formatting. If you pasted the new document in between sections of another file instead of at the end, scroll to the point where the pasted-in document meets the one that was originally in the file. You’ll see the pasted-in document’s formatting does not overwrite the one it meets -- each section retains its formatting.


  • Once you’ve pasted in or merged the two files, do not use “Select All” or highlight the entire document because any changes you make will affect the whole document, including the freshly imported file. You also should avoid applying any of the document styles on the Home tab’s Styles section of the ribbon to the newly pasted-in section. These styles are set up for the original document into which you pasted the copy and will overwrite the pasted-in styles if you tell Word to do so.


  • When working with dual monitors, it may be helpful to keep the original document open on one screen and the merged file open on the other. Though not required, this may help you eyeball the merged file side by side with the original, so you can check any formatting questions you have.
  • These instructions are applicable to Word 2013 and Word 2010. Procedures may vary slightly or significantly for other versions and applications.


Photo Credits

  • Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images

About the Author

Fionia LeChat is a technical writer whose major skill sets include the MS Office Suite (Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Publisher), Photoshop, Paint, desktop publishing, design and graphics. LeChat has a Master of Science in technical writing, a Master of Arts in public relations and communications and a Bachelor of Arts in writing/English.

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