How to Flatten Microsoft Word Documents

By Matthew Burley

Word processing applications are commonly used to generate written documents. These programs provide users with options to customize the appearance and layout of their documents. This can include the addition of images and structural elements, as well as textual styling, such as colored text or font changes. However, some situations require you to "flatten" a document, or turn it into a basic text-only version of itself.

Step 1

Click the "Start" button in the lower-left corner of your screen, then select the "Programs" or "All Programs" option.

Step 2

Select the "Microsoft Office" option, then choose "Microsoft Word."

Step 3

Click the "File" or "Office" button at the top of your screen, then pick the "Open" option.

Step 4

Navigate to your Microsoft Word document, then click "Open."

Step 5

Select the "File" or "Office" button at the top of the screen, then pick the "Save As" option.

Step 6

Click the drop-down menu next to "Save as Type," and select the "Plain Text" option.

Step 7

Navigate to the location where you would like to save this file, then click the gray "Save" button.

Tips & Warnings

  • Flattening a Microsoft Word document will remove any non-textual elements of the document. If you are going to need these elements in the future, be sure to retain the original copy of your document in addition to the flattened document.