In FM16, you are expected to use the new Layout Object Explorer (LOE) to make formatting changes, or at least to first select the layout object that you'd like to modify. It's much more complicated to make such changes in 16, but it is also theoretically much more powerful then in 15.
Perhaps you have these layout objects set to be a button, or with visibility or other certain settings that bring these objects over from 15 as a one-item "group". FM 16 sees these as a group and won't let you format the button group (or other "artificial" groups) directly. Using the Layout Object Explorer, you can select the specific object(s) within the group you'd like to format.
There is a keyboard shortcut you can use if you prefer not to open the Layout Object Explorer. You can click on the layout object you know to be a grouped object, and then use the tab key to tab through the group's contained objects. In the case of a field or text object formatted as a button, you would assume there is only one object in the group (i.e. the actual field or text object), so selecting the object and then hitting the tab button once should land you on that field or text object and allow formatting.
That was the hint I needed. It appears that those objects brought over from FM 13 are now grouped (not sure with what) so I have to ungroup them to see the individual settings. The problem is that when I ungroup them, I have to re-establish the button and hide settings. There are hundreds of these buttons in the app. Oh well. I know what I need to do now
Thanks for the help