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Format Painter

Quickly apply formats to multiple pieces of text.

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Note: This plugin is only available for paid TinyMCE subscriptions.

The Format Painter plugin allows a user to copy and paste formatting from one location to another, such as font style and size. The format painter is capable of working with a wide variety of formats such as inline and block formats and styles such as table styles.

Interactive example

Basic setup

To add the Format Painter plugin to the editor, add formatpainter to the plugins option in the editor configuration.

For example:

  selector: 'textarea',  // change this value according to your HTML
  plugins: 'formatpainter',
  toolbar: 'formatpainter'

Using Format Painter

The format painter is accessed using either keyboard shortcuts or a toolbar button.

The format painter operates in two modes, one for retrieval and one for application of formatting. The usage of the keyboard is slightly different from the usage of the toolbar buttons.

Usage with toolbar button

  1. Position the cursor at the source content to retrieve the formatting.
  2. Enable the Format Painter button to copy the formatting. The Format Painter toolbar button background color changes to grey the Format Painter toolbar button icon.
  3. Select the goal content to apply the formatting.

Result: The formatting from the source content is applied to the goal content.

Usage with keyboard

  1. Position the cursor at the source content to retrieve formatting.
  2. Press the Ctrl+Alt+C keys to read the formatting.
  3. Select the goal content to apply the formatting.
  4. Press the Ctrl+Alt+V keys to apply the formatting.

The format painter retains the formatting after application making it possible to apply the same formatting multiple times by using the Ctrl+Alt+V keyboard shortcut.


The format painter acts upon all formats registered in the editor. In addition to any standard formatting, it will treat lists as a block format whenever the lists plugin is made available.


The format painter plugin will register many formats upon initialization. To override these formats, use the formats option.

The example below showcases the formats registered automatically by the plugin upon initialization. The formatpainter_removeformat is used to clear any existing formats before applying the new ones. It is similar to the removeformat format.

Type: Object

Example: Using formats

  selector: 'textarea',  // change this value according to your HTML
  plugins: 'formatpainter',
  formats: {
    formatpainter_checklist: { selector: 'ul', classes: 'tox-checklist' },
    formatpainter_liststyletype: { selector: 'ul,ol', styles: { listStyleType: '%value' } },
    formatpainter_borderstyle: { selector: 'td,th', styles: { borderTopStyle: '%valueTop', borderRightStyle: '%valueRight', borderBottomStyle: '%valueBottom', borderLeftStyle: '%valueLeft', }, remove_similar: true },
    formatpainter_bordercolor: { selector: 'td,th', styles: { borderTopColor: '%valueTop', borderRightColor: '%valueRight', borderBottomColor: '%valueBottom', borderLeftColor: '%valueLeft' }, remove_similar: true },
    formatpainter_backgroundcolor: { selector: 'td,th', styles: { backgroundColor: '%value' }, remove_similar: true },
    formatpainter_removeformat: [
        selector: 'b,strong,em,i,font,u,strike,sub,sup,dfn,code,samp,kbd,var,cite,mark,q,del,ins',
        remove: 'all', split: true, expand: false, block_expand: true, deep: true
      { selector: 'span', attributes: ['style', 'class'], remove: 'empty', split: true, expand: false, deep: true },
      { selector: '*:not(tr,td,th,table)', attributes: ['style', 'class'], split: false, expand: false, deep: true }


This option makes it possible to block the unwanted formats in the format painter.

Type: String

Default: 'link,address,removeformat,formatpainter_removeformat'

Example: Using formatpainter_blacklisted_formats

  selector: 'textarea',  // change this value according to your HTML
  plugins: 'formatpainter',
  formatpainter_blacklisted_formats: 'link,address,removeformat,formatpainter_removeformat'

Toolbar buttons

The Format Painter plugin provides the following toolbar buttons:

Toolbar button identifier Description
formatpainter Enables and disables format painting.

These toolbar buttons can be added to the editor using:


The Format Painter plugin provides the following JavaScript commands.

Command Description
mceRetrieveFormats Retrieves the formats from the current selection.
mcePaintFormats Applies the formats retrieved using mceRetrieveFormats to the current selection.
mceToggleFormatPainter Toggles the Format Painter.



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Except as otherwise noted, the content of this page is licensed under the Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 3.0 License, and code samples are licensed under the Apache 2.0 License.