Understanding Styles in Microsoft Word
Last edited by Charles Kenyon on
Sunday 09 June 2013
What You Will Learn
After completing this lesson, you will be able to:
Additional Written (and Web) Resources
||Word for Law Firms by
Tips for Understanding Styles in Word by Shauna Kelly, MVP|
How Styles in Microsoft Word Cascade by Shauna Kelly, MVP|
Style Basics in Word 2007 (& 2010) - Microsoft|
in a Networked Environment - newsgroup discussion|
a Template Part 2, John McGhie, MVP.|
Template Basics in Microsoft Word
by Charles Kenyon|
What is the difference between the normal style and the Body Text style?,
Suzanne Barnhill, MVP|
Yet Another "Use Styles" Verbal Beating! by Dian Chapman, MVP|
System - styles used to format letters and letterhead|
Textboxes and Styles Tutorial - two-page template download that
demonstrates use of
|Styles that are based on each other and use the style for
following paragraph feature|
|Use of the StyleRef field to insert information from the body of
a letter into the continuation page headers automatically|
|The AutoText list restricted by styles for the salutation and
|Textboxes in headers and footers to reserve space for preprinted
|Insertion of a date
automatically that will not change when you open the document at a
|Insertion of the typist's name as signer automatically by
accessing the Author document property.|
Tutorial by Charles Kenyon|
Field Tutorial - 2 documents with IncludeText links demonstrating
switches, interaction of styles, and use of hidden Page field for continuous
page numbering of separate documents.|
Sampler - styles used to organize AutoText - see also...|
Why does text change format when I copy it into another document?
by Shauna Kelly, MVP|
What happens when I send my document to someone else, will the
formatting change? by Shauna Kelly, MVP|
to add pop-up lists to any Word document by Bill Coan, MVP.
Started With Styles by Dian Chapman, MVP (another tutorial page
but shorter than this one)|
||A Global StyleSheet in Microsoft Word?
by Charles Kyle Kenyon|
is always making changes I don't expect. How can I get more control
over my formatting? by Suzanne S. Barnhill, MVP, and Dave Rado,
Want to Write a Book Using Microsoft Word - extensive tutorial
by MVP Daiya Mitchell with overview of Styles,
Sections and the interactions among these tool/features.
Excellent! Not just for those who want to write books!|
to safely update a document's styles from its template without using
the Organizer (and how to make the Tools + Templates and Add-ins
dialog safe) by Dave Rado, Margaret Aldis, Ian Sharpe and Beth
to Apply a Style in Microsoft Word by Shauna Kelly|
to Modify a Style in Microsoft Word by Shauna Kelly|
How to Control the Quick Styles Gallery on the Home Tab by
Shauna Kelly (Word 2007-2010)|
Does Text Change Format When I Copy It Into a Different Document?
by Shauna Kelly|
Styles in Word Cascade by Shauna Kelly|
Table Styles Not Useful by Shauna Kelly|
Formatting applied to one paragraph affects entire document by
Suzanne S. Barnhill, MVP
Useful StyleRef Field Tricks by Suzanne S. Barnhill, MVP
Styles DropDown Keyboard
Access Add-In - (For Word 2002+) Simple Add-In to give keyboard
(Ctrl-Shift-S) access to the Styles DropDown in the Formatting
Char and Char Char Char Styles - a Bug and fixes|
Styles Dialog Box Add-In
- (For Word 2003+) Simple Add-In to give menu access to the Styles
How to put Word 2002 (and 2003) back the way they were in Word
97-2000 by Suzanne S. Barnhill, MVP (getting access to the
Styles dialog box instead of the Task Pane)|
How to Control Bullets in Microsoft Word by Shauna Kelly, MVP.
Bullets and outline numbering are very much related in Word. You use
styles to implement either in a reliable way.|
Word 2007/2010: Behind the Curtain - Styles, Doc Defaults, Style
Sets and Themes - by Microsoft Word Team|
Word 2007/2010: Behind the Curtain - Styles Order of Operations - by Microsoft Word Team|
by Shauna Kelly, MVP (see note above)|
Changing the formatting rules with compatibility options - these
can change how Word treats formatting in styles.|
Styles Order of Operations Microsoft Blog|
Intro Guide to Word 2007 found on
Advanced Guide to Word 2007 found on
Microsoft Word 2010 Bible by Herb Tyson,
Why Use Styles - part of Lynda.com Video tutorials on Word|
Using the Navigation Pane in Word 2010|
Word 2007 and later - Behind the Curtain - Styles, Style Sets,
Document Defaults and Themes|
(this guide table of contents) ------- (MS
Word New Users FAQ)
Styles Add-In - CK Note
Stylizer - I haven't tried this but you may want to give it a look.
It's blurb says: "Stylizer was developed to make it easy for any user of
Word to reformat documents properly, through the intelligent application
of Styles, and the automation of routine formatting tasks." This is from
Levit & James and requires a minimum purchase of 5 licenses.
I suspect but do not know that the Quick Styles and Style Sets
incorporated in Word 2007 and later perform much the same function
without an Add-In.
Styles Dialog Box - For
Word 2003 Simple Add-In to give menu access to the Styles Dialog Box.
This Add-In is needed for people using the following Add-In to give
keyboard access to the Styles Drop-Down.
keyboard access. In Word 2002+ the Styles drop-down (in the formatting
toolbar) cannot be accessed from the keyboard. This Add-In changes the
Ctrl-Shift-S command back to give keyboard access to this toolbar.
(Without the Add-In, Ctrl-Shift-S pops up the Styles Dialog Box.)
Styles are arguably the most important feature in Microsoft Word. Why?
Because everything that you do in Word has a style attached. The
definition of a style is two-fold. First, you can think of a style as a
set of pre-defined formatting instructions that you can use repeatedly
throughout the document. Let's say each heading in a document must be
centered, uppercase, bold, and a slightly larger font size. Each time you
need to apply formatting to the heading, you have to go through the entire
process to get the text the way you want it. If you store the formatting
commands in a style, you can apply that style any time you need it without
having to do all of the reformatting.
Possibly more important however is that styles are used to "tag" or
identify parts of a document. An example of this is whether text is part
of a heading, a footnote, a hyperlink, or body text. These are all
examples of styles in Word.
If you're concerned about whether or not you need to learn styles, we
can put it rather simply: you do. Styles are the architecture upon which
Word is based. Just about everything in Word is style-driven. In fact,
many people in the industry refer to Word as a "style-driven" program.
Styles allow for quick formatting modifications throughout the document
and can be tied into numbering to make working with outline numbered lists
Note: For long documents,
documents that are likely to be heavily edited, and documents that may
form the basis for other documents, follow the basic rule that to change
formatting use Format => Styles... Do not apply direct formatting. You
will save yourself, and others, untold hours of hair-tearing. For shorter
one-use documents, direct formatting is OK; you'll only regret not using
styles about one time in six, on the other five out of the six, you'll
save a bit of time. If you create document templates
with direct formatting, you deserve what will happen to you when someone
finds out (and it won't be nice). In my opinion, using direct formatting
in document templates intended for use by others rates the words malicious
and/or incompetent. If the templates are for your own use,
you deserve the loss of days, months, even years from your life that
you'll spend fighting with Word and trying to figure out why your
documents look so bad.
Trying to use Word without understanding and using styles is like
pushing on a string. I resisted learning and using styles for years
and now regret every day of those years because although that string
was still very hard to push, it kept getting longer and longer, and
had some very important projects tied to it! Once you understand
styles and the Word concept of organizing things into Chinese boxes
everything falls into place and instead of pushing a string, you can
push a button that turns on the very powerful text processing
machine known as Microsoft Word and it will start doing your work
for you instead of running around behind you trying to undo what you
just thought you did.
These statements should be even stronger for
those using Word 2010. It lets you use and change styles even more
I just had occasion to edit a 100-page document that
was created without using styles. It was formatted completely with
direct formatting. Each page ended with a page break.
Each time it had to be saved, the save took more than 60
seconds, during which time Word was frozen. A similar-sized document
formatted using Styles takes less than 3 seconds for me to save.
This difference was due entirely to the document being directly
formatted - a much higher level of complexity. Each paragraph mark
in a directly-formatted paragraph carries with it up to fifty
different formatting commands. When formatted using Styles, that
paragraph mark will carry with it one command - use this style!
--CKK 1 Feb 2012
There are several reasons for using styles in a document:
|Consistency — When you use styles to format your
document, each section is formatted the same and therefore, provides a
professional, clean-looking document. |
|Easier to Modify — If you use styles in your document
consistently, you only need to update a given style once if you want to
change the characteristics of all text formatted in that style. |
|Efficiency — You can create a style once, and then apply
it to any section in the document without having to format each section
|Table of Contents — Styles can be used to generate a
table of contents quickly. |
|Faster Navigation — Using styles lets you quickly move
to different sections in a document using the Document Map feature. |
|Working in Outline View — Styles allow you to outline
and organize your document's main topics with ease. |
|Legal Outline Numbering – Numbering, when linked to styles,
allows you to generate and update consistent outline numbering in legal
documents, even ones with complicated numbering schemes like municipal
law, tax law, and mergers and acquisitions documents. |
|Efficiency of Word — Files which are predominantly
manually formatted are less efficient than those which have formatting
that has been imposed by styles: manually formatted files, such a
converted documents which have been File, Opened, are bloated in file
size (bytes) and do not render to the screen efficiently when you scroll
through them. This is because Word is a styles-based application: it
first reads the attributes of the underlying style, then has to
broadcast anything contrary (e.g. manually formatted on top of that). As
such, a lengthy document that has been predominantly manually formatted,
will behave sluggishly because Word has to work harder at managing it.
Additionally, the print formatting processes are equally labored as
opposed to using styles. |
|HTML AND XML — What lies ahead? A fully structured,
styled document will move into HTML and XML incredibly well.|
Styles are an essential part of Microsoft Word. In fact, everything you
type into a document has a style attached to it, whether you design the
style or not.
When you start Microsoft Word, the new blank document is based on the
Normal template, and text that you type uses the Normal style. This means
that when you start typing, Word uses the font name, font size, line
spacing, indentation, text alignment, and other formats currently defined
for the Normal style. The Normal style is the base style for the Normal
template, meaning that it's a building block for other styles in the
template. Whenever you start typing in a new document, unless you specify
otherwise, you are typing in the Normal style.
"Avoiding styles is a hobby for some Word users. They go through 35
mouse clicks in 12 formatting dialog boxes, just to avoid using a
Getting Started with Styles by
Paragraph vs. Character Styles
There are two types of styles in Microsoft Word;
character and paragraph. Paragraph styles are
used more frequently than character styles, and they are easier to create.
It's important to understand both, however, since understanding styles is
Note: In Word 2002, there is also a hybrid
"character and paragraph" style that isn't discussed in
this article. Also introduced with Word 2002 are Table Styles. I
don't use them and haven't found them helpful. For a discussion of
their shortcomings, see
Shauna Kelly's article.
Character styles can be applied to individual words — even (you
guessed it) single characters. Character formatting is built from the
formatting options available from the Format menu, by selecting Font;
settings from the Tools menu, by selecting Language, and then selecting
Set Language; and in certain cases from the Format menu by selecting
Borders and Shading, and looking on the Borders and Shading tabs of the
Borders and Shading dialog box. The following table shows the formatting
that can be in a style.
A paragraph style contains both font and paragraph formatting which
makes it more flexible than a character style. When you apply a paragraph
style the formatting affects the entire paragraph. For example, when you
center text, you cannot center a single word. Instead, the entire
paragraph is centered. Other types of paragraph-level formats that styles
control are line spacing (single-space, double-space, etc.), text
alignment, bullets, numbers, indents, tabs and borders.
I have three character styles in most of my pleading documents. Two
replace Bold and Italic formatting. The third is for citations. The first
two are built-in character styles of "Strong" and "Emphasis." I started
using these before Word had a replace formatting feature. I'm not sure they
are needed. They provide a simple way of changing how I emphasize something
throughout a document by simply changing the style. It starts out that
"Strong" is bold and "Emphasis" is Italicized.
The third, though, has proved its worth through time. It is the Citation
character style. I set it to Italic and set the language formatting to "no
proofing." This means that case citations with it will not alert the spell
checker. (Of course, this also means you better have the correct spelling.)
To set this up, you would create a new character style and use the
formatting drop-down to add the Italic and "no-proofing" formatting. The
Italic formatting comes through the font formatting dialog, and the
"no-proofing" comes through the language dialog. In later versions
of Word "no-proofing" is known as "Do not check spelling or grammar."
Character styles can also be used as targets for the
StyleRef field. This field gives very quick automatic updating. A
character style is much less fragile than is a bookmark when used to
mark text that may be edited.
Styles are listed in two places: the Style drop-down box on the
Formatting toolbar and from the Format menu by choosing Style.
In Word 2007-2013 they are found in the Styles portion of the Home Ribbon.
View Styles with the Style Box
The Style box is the button at the far-left side of the Formatting
toolbar. It can be activated by clicking the drop-down arrow to the right
of the words in the box, or by pressing CTRL+SHIFT+S on the keyboard.
||Tip Keyboard users can press CTRL+SHIFT+S and
then click the up or down arrow keys on the keyboard to move through
the list of available styles. Pressing F4 on the keyboard once
inside the Style box activates the drop-down list, which you can
then traverse with arrow keys.|
||CK Note This does not work in
Word 2002 or later. A macro is needed, assign it to the key
combination. You can download an Add-In that does this from my
miss this in Word 2007-2010. That Add-In doesn't work. You can add
this Style Box to your QAT. It is under Commands Not In the Ribbon
and is the Style (Style Gallery Classic).
introduced the Styles and Formatting Pane shown below. It appears if
you select Format -> Styles.
If instead of hovering with the mouse you right-click, you get the
options of modifying or deleting the style (except for built-in
styles which cannot be deleted.)
The third option is to modify the
style to match the current selection.
The styles pane can also be accessed in Word 2007-2010 by
clicking in the bottom right corner of the styles group on the Home
tab or by pressing the keyboard shortcut Ctrl-Alt-Shift-S.
The resulting dialog is similar to the Styles Pane and provides more information about the style when you
As with Word 2003, right-clicking on the style name give options to
modify or delete the style.
By default this appears as a floating dialog. This dialog can be
anchored to the right side of the page making it appear much like
the Styles and Formatting Pane.
||Note If you're using Word 2000, the default is
for the Standard and Formatting toolbars to share one row. For this
chapter, you may find it helpful to turn off this feature. From the
Tools menu, choose Customize and select the Options tab. Uncheck
Standard and Formatting toolbars share one row and click
Practice: View a List of Styles
- Create a new blank document.
- Locate the Style box on the Formatting toolbar. If the toolbar is
not visible, alternate-click any toolbar and choose Formatting.
||Note In Word 2000, styles are listed in
alphabetical order. In Word 97 styles listed in the drop-down list
are not displayed in alphabetical order. Word 97 lists styles in the
following order in the Style Box list:
|Heading styles |
|Normal style |
|User-defined styles in alphabetical order |
|Body Text styles |
|List styles |
|All other styles listed alphabetically.|
- Click the Style box drop-down arrow to the right of the button. A
list of styles available in the active document displays.
While only a few styles show in this list by default, later you'll
learn how to access all available styles.
The list and quantity of styles that displays in the Style list depends
on which template you used to create the active document. If you click the
New button on the Standard toolbar, you get a blank document based on
Word's default template, Normal.dot. Different types of documents need
different styles. What works in a pleading may not be useful in a letter,
fax or memo.
Styles can also share the same name in various templates but have
different attributes. For example, in a pleading the Body Text style may
be double-spaced, where in a letter, Body Text may be single-spaced.
Another way to see the styles available in the current template is by
selecting the Format menu, and then choosing Style. The Style dialog box
is shown in the following figure.
Styles list in Word 97-2000. When you select a Style from the list on the left side of the Style
box, you see a preview and description of the style formatting on the
Practice: Access the Style Dialog Box
- From the Format menu, choose Style.
- Change the List to display All Styles if necessary.
- Select a style from the list and view the Character preview,
Paragraph preview, and Description.
- Click Cancel or press ESC to close the Style dialog box.
Lists of styles available in this template or all open templates are
shown in the Style dialog box.
Listing All of the Styles
When you click the Style button's drop-down arrow, only the styles in
use in the current template displays in the list of styles. If you wish to
see a list of all of the styles that are available to you in Word, you can
do so in one of two different ways. Hold SHIFT and click the style
drop-down arrow. This displays all styles available. There are
approximately 125 styles to choose from, excluding any user-defined
styles. It's also possible to list all styles by selecting All Styles from
the Style dialog box's List control in the bottom left corner.
Practice: View All Styles
- Create a new blank document.
- Click the Style drop-down arrow. Notice how many styles are
- Click with the mouse in the document to deselect the Style drop-down
- Hold SHIFT and click the Style drop-down arrow again.
- More styles are available when you hold down the SHIFT key.
The same rules that apply to direct formatting of text apply to style
formatting of text. If you want to apply a text attribute to a single
word, you can click anywhere in the word and select a formatting option
such as bold, italics or underline — Word applies the selected format
to the entire word. Similarly, if you want to format multiple words you
must first select the multiple words. The same is true for applying
character styles. To apply a character style, you can click in the middle
of any word and select the character style to format the entire word. If
you want to change a group of words you must first select the text before
applying the character style.
Applying formatting to paragraphs is a little different. Just click
anywhere in a paragraph and apply direct formats such as dragging the
ruler to change indentation — since paragraph formats affect an
entire paragraph, you don't have to select the paragraph. If you want to
affect multiple paragraphs, you must first select the multiple paragraphs.
And, similar to applying text formatting and character styles, to apply a
paragraph style, click within the paragraph and apply the paragraph style.
Or, select multiple paragraphs to apply the same style to each of the
Note: As of Word 2002
(and later) if you attempt to apply a paragraph style to selected
text within a paragraph, you get a new character style with the same
name. The character formatting from the paragraph style is applied,
but not the paragraph formatting. A new hybrid character style
with the same name but with "char" appended is created.
apply a paragraph style to a single paragraph, click within the
paragraph without selecting text.
Practice: Apply Styles
- Type the following text into a new document.
Trust and Estate
- Click anywhere within the first line, Profitability Report.
- Click the Style drop-down arrow and select Heading 1.
- Select the two paragraphs: Entire Firm and Individual Departments.
- Apply Heading 2 style to the selected text.
- Apply Heading 3 style to the department names.
There are several keyboard shortcuts that are useful in applying
||Activates the Style Drop-Down List|
||Tip The above shortcut keys are standard in
Word documents. You can also assign a shortcut key combination to
any other styles that you use regularly. This topic is covered in
the section Assign a Keyboard Shortcut To a
Display Paragraph Style Names in Normal View
Sometimes it's useful to see what style has been applied to text within
a document. You can turn on Word's Style Area feature to see what
paragraph styles have been applied throughout the document. The Style Area
is a re-sizeable pane on the left side of the window that lists the
paragraph style applied to each paragraph. It is only available in Normal
Practice: Display Applied Paragraph Style Names
- From the View menu, choose Normal.
- From the Tools menu, choose Options and select the View tab.
- Locate the Style area width box.
- Click the up spin box arrow until it's set to 1.0, or type 1.0 in
- Click OK to close the Options dialog box.
||Tip To make the Style area width larger or
smaller without redisplaying the Options dialog box, click and drag
the line that separates the style name from the text of the
- From the Tools menu, choose Options, and select the View tab and set
the Style area width back to 0.
- Click OK.
(What you get. - CK
Printing a List of Styles and their Formatting (CK
You can print a list of the styles in use in a document along with the
formatting that goes into that style by selecting "Styles" in the "Print What"
box on the Print Dialog Box instead of printing the document.
Let's say you just finished applying styles to a long agreement only to
find that you applied the Heading 2 style where you should have applied
the Heading 1 style. This can easily be remedied by using Word's Find and
Replace feature. Instead of searching for text, however, you can tell Word
to search and replace text formatted with a specific style.
Practice: Find and Replace Styles
- From the Edit menu, choose Replace. If you prefer keyboard
shortcuts, press CTRL+H.
- Click More on the Replace tab, if necessary, to display additional
options along the bottom portion of the dialog box. If a button says
Less, the window is already expanded.
- Delete any text, if necessary, that may appear in the Find what and
Replace with boxes.
- Click in the Find what box and click Format.
- Select Style.
- Select Heading 2 in the Find what style list and click OK.
- Click in the Replace with box and click Format.
- Select Style.
- Select Heading 1 and click OK. Note that while there is no text
within each edit box (Find and Replace), just below each box is a
message that Word will find and replace styles that are applied to text
within the document.
- Click Replace All, then click OK, and finally, click Close.
If you try to use the Find and Replace feature again, make sure to
click within each box (Find and Replace) and click No Formatting to reset
what Word is to search for.
Create, Modify and Locate Your Own Styles
Now that you understand what a style is and what it can do, it's time
to create some styles of your own. Not only can you create your own
styles, you can modify existing styles to achieve the result you need.
Create a New Style
The easiest way to create a new style is to format text with the
attributes that you want to apply to the style. It doesn't matter what you
type, only what type of paragraph and character formatting that you have
applied to the text. Formatting is the only thing that is applied when you
apply a style. Although you can create styles that have more advanced
attributes such as being followed by an entirely different style, the
following exercise shows you just how easy the process can be.
Practice: Create a Style
- Type your first name on a separate line in a document.
- Select your name and make the font Blue.
- Change the font size to 24-points.
- Apply Bold and Underline formatting to the text.
- Center the paragraph.
- From the Formatting toolbar, click in the Styles box (where the
style name Normal is usually displayed).
- Type your first name.
- Press ENTER. This step is important. If you do not press ENTER your
style is not created.
- Click the Style drop-down list. You should see your newly created
- Test this by typing "This is a test" and applying the new
You can use the Style dialog box to create or modify a style. Another
option for creating and modifying styles is shown in the following
exercise. You create a new style by typing text and formatting it, and
then from the Format menu, choose Style.
Practice: Create a Style Using The Style Dialog Box
- Type the following text:
Styles help users in law firms master Microsoft Word. (press
Everything in Word is based on a style.
- Select the text "Styles help users in law firms master Microsoft Word."
and the paragraph mark ()
- Center the paragraph and apply a 14-point font.
- From the Format menu, choose Style.
- Click New.
- Type My Style as the Name.
- Click OK, and then click Apply.
Modifying Existing Styles
There are two ways to modify an existing style. One of these methods is
through the Style dialog box. However, an easier method is by changing the
style by example using the Style drop-down toolbar button. The Style
drop-down is useful if changes have already been manually made to a
paragraph formatted in the style to be changed. If this is not the case,
styles can be changed using the Style dialog box.
Practice: Two Methods to Modifying a Style
- Add several paragraphs to the document from the previous exercise.
- Apply the style that you created to the new text.
- Select the text Styles help users in law firms master Microsoft
- From the Format menu, choose Style.
- Click Modify.
- Click Format, and then select Font.
- Change the font color to Blue and the font size to 20-points.
- Close the dialog box and apply the changes that you've made by
clicking Apply. Notice that all text formatted with My Style updates to
show the recent change.
- Select the text Microsoft Word.
- Change the font size to 36.
- Click on the style name in the white part of the Style toolbar
button (not the drop-down arrow) and press ENTER. It's important to
press ENTER and not move the mouse up or down the list of style names.
This tells Word that you are working with the current style where the
mouse is active. If this step was done correctly, the following Modify
Style dialog box should display.
- You can either choose to Update the style to reflect recent changes,
or Reapply the formatting of the style to the selection (go back to the
original style format). Choose Update the style to reflect recent
changes? And click OK.
Note: This behavior
changed in Word 2002. You can modify Word to go back to the previous
behavior. Check the box for "Prompt to update style" on the Edit tab
of Tools > Options.
You can download an Add-In that restores the CTRL+SHIFT+S
behavior from my
not ever check the box to automatically update the style from
now on. This is the equivalent of giving a chain saw to an
8-year-old without supervision. Nothing good will come of it!
||Tip A keyboard shortcut is to press
CTRL+SHIFT+S (to put you in the style drop down box), and then press
ENTER, which will bring up the above dialog.|
The style is changed to reflect the formatting of the selected text and
this method is referred to as modifying by example. Notice how all
paragraphs with the style are updated automatically.
||Warning We do not recommend selecting the
Automatically update the style box especially in a legal environment
where multiple users work on the same document. This feature will
update the style each time you make a formatting change in a
paragraph that has a style attached.|
A lot of confusion can come from not knowing where styles are stored
and when they are available in documents. When new documents are created,
the new documents are based on templates. The styles contained within
these templates are copied to the new document. Changes made to styles in
the document as well as new styles that you create only affect that one
new document by default. If you want the change or addition to be added to
the template, you have to tell Word to do so.
Practice: Add it to the Template
- From the Format menu, choose Style.
- Click Modify.
- Check the option to Add to template. This makes the style available
for any new documents that are based on that template.
The style is added to the currently open template.
||Note Documents that have previously been
created based on this template are not affected when you add a style
to the template. To automatically update style changes in templates
and files previously created based on the same template, from the
Tools menu, choose Templates and Add-Ins. Select the option to
Automatically update document styles and click OK. We recommend not
checking this option. It can produce unexpected results, especially
in legal documents that must conform to court
Note: For an excellent tutorial on styles and a methodical look at basing styles
on one another and reasons not to base styles on normal, see John McGhie's
a Template Part 2. For a sample demonstrating styles based on
one another, use of the style for following paragraph feature, and the
AutoTextList field restricted by styles download the Letterhead
Textboxes and Styles Tutorial by Charles Kenyon.
What it means to have a style (style B) based on another
style (style A) is that changes in Style A, the underlying style,
will be reflected in styles based on it (style B) unless the new
style has deviated from Style A on the feature being changed.
Style A Arial Bold 20 pt Indented .5 inches
Style B Arial Bold 18 pt Indented .5 inches based on Style A
Change Style A to Comic Sans font and Style B will also be Comic
Change Style A to 24 pt - no change to Style B
Change Style A to not Bold - Style B also becomes not bold
How Styles in Microsoft Word Cascade by Shauna Kelly, MVP
Assign a Keyboard Shortcut To a Style
If you create your own styles, it's especially helpful to assign a
keyboard shortcut to them to make them easier to apply. You can also apply
shortcuts to commonly used styles.
Practice: Assign a Keyboard Shortcut to The Quote Style
- In a blank line on your document, change the left indent to 1", and
the right- indent to 5".
- Enter some text.
- Click somewhere within the indented paragraph. You will create a
quote style that is very common in most law firms.
- From the Format menu, choose Style.
- Click New.
- In the Name box, type Quote.
- As Style type, select Paragraph.
- Based on should be Normal (your default style).
- Click Shortcut Key.
- In the Press new shortcut key box, press the keyboard combination
ALT+Q. (Always make sure that the shortcut key you have chosen is not in
use somewhere else.)
- Click Assign.
- Click OK, and then click Close.
- Click anywhere within your document and press ALT+Q. The Quote
paragraph style is applied.
Now you can apply the Quote style using ALT+ Q or through the Style
||Note If you want to add a shortcut key to a
style that already exists, Word lets you do that, too. From the
Format menu, choose Style. Select the style to which you want to add
a shortcut key and click Modify. Click Shortcut Key and follow the
steps from the above exercise.|
Following a Style with Another Style
If you apply a paragraph format in Word, it keeps that format until
another one is chosen. This is true for styles as well. If you use the "My
Style" style (created in the previous exercise), Word continues to use
that style each time you begin a new paragraph until another style is
chosen. Sometimes the style is only needed for one paragraph at a time
(for example a heading style). To cut down the amount of times the user
needs to use the Style menu; you can choose which style should be used in
the paragraph that follows the new style. For example, after the Heading
style, when you press ENTER, you can have the next paragraph automatically
formatted with a Body Text style.
Practice: Follow a Style With Another Style
(Save Users Time & Frustration)
- From the Format menu, choose Style.
- Select Quote style from the list of styles.
- Click Modify.
- Select Normal style from the Style for following paragraph list.
- Click OK, and then click Close.
Notice the style of the new paragraph automatically changes to the
Normal style when you press enter after a paragraph formatted with the
CK Note: See Letterhead
Textboxes and Styles Tutorial for an example of styles that use
the "Style for following paragraph" feature to good effect.
Using the Organizer to Copy Styles
You can copy styles between documents or templates. One of the most
effective ways to do this is through the Organizer. The Organizer is a
tool built into Word that allows you to quickly copy Styles, AutoText,
Toolbars and Macros. You can access the Organizer in one of two ways: from
the Format menu, choose Style and click Organizer; or from the Tools menu,
choose Templates and Add-Ins and click Organizer.
CK Note: To get to the organizer in Word
2010 and 2007 you need to click on the Import/Export button on the
Manage Styles Dialog Box (bottom left corner).
Practice: Copy Styles Using the Organizer
- From the Tools menu, choose Templates and Add-Ins.
- Click Organizer.
- Select the appropriate tab for items that you want to copy. For
example, to copy styles from one document or template to another select
the Styles tab.
- To copy styles from your current document to the Normal.dot template
which makes the style available each time you start Word, select the
styles and click Copy.
- Click Close.
||Note If a style name that you are copying
already exists, you are asked if you want to replace
I have found it best when copying styles using the organizer to copy
them three times if any of the styles is based on other styles or is
followed by other styles. I'm not sure why this makes a
difference, but I've found that clicking on that copy button three
times means that these relationships continue in the destination
template. I know that when I copy them only once, they do not and
the styles are then followed by the Normal style. See this
for possible explanation.
You can use a global template as a stylesheet if you include a
macro to copy the styles into your document. See A Global StyleSheet in Microsoft Word?
for an example of such a macro.
If you have defined one of the built-in styles just the way you
want but would prefer to be using a style of your own for this
purpose, copying the formatting to your new style without it being
based on the existing style. If you are comfortable editing vba
macros, you can record a macro that calls up the style modification
dialog and goes through each of the various format dialogs and
closes them. Then create your new style and edit the macro to refect
the name of your new style rather than the one in which it was
recorded. Run the macro and the new style should match your original
Much simpler is using one of the tools that comes in the WOPR
Add-In. The Style Duplicator lets you create a new style with the
same definition as an existing one. The WOPR Add-In is only
Que "Special Edition" books about Office and is worth the price
of the books by itself.
Another way to copy styles is to simply copy and paste paragraphs
created in another document containing the style you're looking for. All
paragraph formatting is contained in the paragraph mark at the end of
each paragraph. Make sure when you select and copy the paragraph text
that you include the paragraph marker at the end of the selected
paragraph. Then, when you paste it into the target document, the
selected paragraph formatting and paragraph style are added to your
If you use Autotext
entries contained in a global template that
are formatted using a style in that global template, those styles will
be copied as well. (For this to work with paragraph styles a paragraph
marker in the style must be a part of the autotext entry.)
method of copying styles by copying text with a paragraph marker
only works if the style being copied in is not already "in use"
in the document receiving the copied text. Otherwise the style
definition in the target document governs.
addition here to Navigating With the Document Map)
If you do this
and the style already exists in the new receiving document, the existing
style in the receiving document is used, not modified. This makes it
much easier to maintain consistency within a document but can lead to
real headaches if the people who formatted the documents weren't
conscious of style use.
In this case if you wanted to copy the
style you would want to use the Organizer. Character styles are
also copied this way. This gets complex. Sorry about that. Despite this
complexity, use of styles for formatting is the key to using Word.
If you have text in two different documents that you want to
combine, and you want to retain the formatting from each rather than
having one style system format the text from both documents, you can.
You can use Paste Special ... as Word Document
Object. This creates a
document within a document, with its own set of styles.
Otherwise, if you just want to copy the text, you will need to make some changes to one of the documents before you
do the insertion, though. The thing is that if your styles have
different names in the two documents, then the formatting will be
retained when the text is inserted. So, you'll want to rename the
styles in one (or both) of your documents.
None of the built-in styles can be renamed, though. If you have the
WOPR Add-In, you can copy styles within a document and then use
replace to change all instances using one of the built-in styles to
the copy (with a different name).
If you have problems with copying formatted text from one document
to another, take a look at the troubleshooting
section below. If you have other formatting problems such as headers and footers
or page numbering to worry about, take a look at Sections,
Header and Footers.
If you apply heading styles, you can use the Vertical Scroll Bar in
Word to move quickly to different parts of your document. To do this,
click and drag the box (elevator car) in the vertical scrollbar and move
it up or down. You will see tip-text next to it that tells you which
section of your document you are in. (end of addition)
If you apply heading styles, you can use the Document Map feature in
Word to quickly move to different parts of your document. This is a real
time-saver when working with long documents.
Practice: Navigate Using Document Map
- Create or open a long document formatted with heading styles.
- Click the Document Map button on the Standard toolbar, or from the
View menu, choose Document Map.
- Click on a heading within the document map to move to that section
in the document.
- Click on a different heading in the document map to move to
another section within the document.
To turn off the document map feature, click the Document Map button
on the Standard toolbar. The button works as a toggle.
Note - Warning:
"While it's true that Microsoft put a Document Map
feature into Word 97, the whole thing was so badly botched that
only a masochist would live with it. Here's the primary
problem: Word 97 takes it upon itself to scan every document as
it's opened and assign heading levels to all the paragraphs.
By doing so, any heading levels you've assigned are thrown
away--and there's nothing you can do about it.
"So here's a word of advice. If you use DocMap
on a particular Word document, don't let anybody with Word 97
(or any earlier version of Word, for that matter) open the
document. As soon as your carefully DocMapped Word 2000
document is opened in Word 97, all the level formatting will be
Quote from Woody Leonard Teaches Office 2000.
This section (other features) was added by CK and is not in the
original text. Four features that depend on use of styles in a document
AutoText lists are an implementation of the AutoTextList field. They
are found on the Header and Footer Toolbar and the AutoText toolbar.
They are also in a number of the templates supplied with Word. A
non-apparent factor with their use is that they are sensitive to styles.
AutoText entries are organized by Word according to the style in which
they were created. Often only AutoText entries saved in a particular
style will show up in an AutoText list field. When such a list is
missing entries, the first thing to check is whether the insertion point
(cursor) is in the expected style.
See the Web Resources
page for more on AutoText. See
to add pop-up lists to any Word document for more on the AutoTextList
See the Letterhead
Textboxes and Styles Tutorial for an example using some of
Microsoft's default AutoText entries for letters.
Tables of Contents
Tables of Contents are very easily generated in Word if you use
heading styles to mark your headings. See
for more on how to do this. Creating a Table of Contents without
using styles is a painful experience, although it can be done.
The StyleRef field
The StyleRef field is used primarily in headers and footers. If
you have something like a directory or a phone book document you can
have dynamic content in your header/footer like:
Allen - Brady
With a properly set up letterhead template the styleref field can
be used to put information about the addressee and subject into the
continuation page header automatically. See the Letterhead
Textboxes and Styles Tutorial for a detailed example. See
my StyleRef Field
Using Fields in Microsoft Word,
Useful StyleRef Field Tricks for
more on the StyleRef field. The StyleRef field is especially handy
because it updates instantly without any user intervention.
The Vertical Scroll bar
This was covered earlier. (end
of CK Addition)
Troubleshooting Styles — Issues To Watch Out For
While styles are an integral part of using Word in a law firm or any
environment, there are a few things that cause users difficulty. This
doesn't mean that you should not create your own styles; you just need
to know how to solve some common problems and understand how you can
avoid them in the future.
A style has changed unexpectedly
Check to see if automatic updating is turned on for the style. With
automatic updating, a style is updated automatically when you make
additional changes to the style, meaning that every paragraph in your
document assigned to that style will change automatically. To turn off
this feature, click the Format menu, and choose Style. Select the style
in the Styles box, and then click Modify. If the Automatically update
check box is selected, clear it.
Your style may have been based on another style that has changed.
Changes to a base style affect other styles in the document that are
based on it. For example, if you change the font in Normal to the Arial
font, Word changes the font for the styles used in footnotes, headers,
footers, page numbers, and other text. If you don't want a certain style
to change when you change the base style, make certain your style is not
based on another style. On the Format menu, click Style. In the Styles
box, click the style you want to modify, click Modify, and then click
(no style) in the Based on box.
CK Note: See also Word
is always making changes I don't expect. How can I get more control over
my formatting? by Suzanne S. Barnhill, MVP, and Dave Rado, MVP. and
Formatting applied to one paragraph affects entire document by
Suzanne S. Barnhill, MVP
||Warning When you base a style on No Style, you
will need to set the Language because the default will be No
Charles Kenyon note: I recommend
that you not base any styles on normal and that you change the
built-in styles so that they are not based on normal. This is
particularly true for any styles that are involved in paragraph
numbering. (But, I have been told by someone whose
opinion I respect that my reluctance to use the normal style is
based on an urban myth.)
If you change the styles in a template and then reopen a document based
on that template, styles in the current document may be updated, based on
their new definitions in the template. If you don't want the styles in
documents based on a particular template to update when you open the
documents, click Templates and Add-Ins on the Tools menu, and then clear
the Automatically update document styles check box.
Charles Kenyon note: I recommend that
you keep the Automatically update styles check box unchecked. Especially
if you will be sharing your documents with others, leaving it checked
can result in truly bizarre formatting and make your documents ugly or
even unusable. This is true even if you are using a custom template and
not normal.dot because...
If the template that contains the style definitions is missing or
damaged, styles in the current document use the style definitions from the
Applying a style turns off bold, italic, or underlining
Sometimes when you apply a style that has specific formatting
attributes to text already formatted this way, the reverse formatting may
occur. For example, when you apply a style that contains bold formatting
to a paragraph that contains some bold text, the bold text may lose its
bold formatting. This problem will not occur if you apply character
formatting— either through a character style or direct formatting — after
you apply a paragraph style. Apply the style first, and then select the
words to have other formatting and apply the formatting directly.
||Tip To make sure that no direct formatting has
been applied to the text, first select the text completely and then
press CTRL+SPACEBAR. This removes manually applied formatting. Now
when a style is applied, there is no reversing situation to
Paragraphs with the same style applied look different.
Often a style will be applied within a document, and later, specific
text in the document is selected and additional formatting is
applied-without updating the style. This is called direct formatting.
While direct formatting may be your intention, if you share documents with
others, it can be confusing because text formatted differently can have
the same style name.
To remove direct formatting, select the paragraph, including the
paragraph mark, and then press CTRL+SPACEBAR to remove character
formatting and CTRL+Q to remove paragraph formatting.
Practice: Remove Direct Formatting & Return the Style to the
- Apply a style such as Heading 1 to text.
- Apply formatting such as Bold, Italic, and Underline to this text.
- In the same document, apply the same style to different text and
note that the text displays the same style name but appears with
- Select the Heading 1 text that has the directly applied character
formatting applied in step 2.
- Press CTRL+SPACEBAR to remove the directly applied character
- Indent and center the text so that paragraph formatting is now
directly applied on top of the style.
- Press CTRL+Q to remove the directly applied paragraph formatting.
Both paragraphs should now look the same.-
The following is not in the original chapter.
Copying text formatted with a style from
one document to another.
First, think about using Paste Special... As Word Document Object. This
may do what you want without your having to do a lot of work to otherwise
understand how your styles are working. If it doesn't, read on...
When you copy text formatted in one style to a different document,
different things will happen depending on whether that style is already in
use in the original document. If the style is based on a different style,
it will also matter whether or not that style is in use. The basic rule is
that if the style is in use in both documents, the formatting of the style
in the target document governs. If the style is not "in use"
then the formatting of the style from the source document will be carried
into the target document and override a style definition for that (unused)
style in the target document. Direct formatting can also cause problems.
When you run into a problem with this, first undo and close your
documents. Make some copies and work with the copies. Try first clearing
any direct formatting in the source
document text. Then copy and paste again. If your problem still pops up,
then try using Edit => Paste Special... => Unformatted Text. You may
have to reapply the appropriate styles to the pasted text. The pasted text
will pick up the paragraph format of the paragraph into which it is being
pasted (even if the pasted text contains multiple paragraphs).
To see something of how styles interact when copied from one document
to another, take a look at the
Field Tutorial. It shows what happens with styles that are (1) in both
documents, (2) only in the source document but based on a style in the target
document, and (3) only in the source document and not based on any style in the
See also Troubleshooting
A style is a collection of formatting characteristics, such as
font name, size and color; and paragraph alignment and spacing.
A style set is a collection of styles that are designed to
work well together. The built-in style sets in Word 2007 and 2010 are
called Distinctive, Elegant, Fancy, etc. You can also create your own
Each style in a style set is called a quick style. Most styles
are not part of a quick style set.
The Home tab of the ribbon includes the Styles group. The
Styles group includes the Quick Styles Gallery and the Change Styles
button. When you choose a quick style set for your document, the
individual quick styles in the style set appear in the Quick Style
Gallery. The styles in the document that are part of a quick style set
will change when you change sets to the definitions in the new set.
To see another representation of the quick styles shown in the Quick
Style Gallery - one that will be familiar to someone who has worked with
Word 2003 and earlier - click on the sloping arrow in the lower right
corner of the Styles group (or press Ctrl-Alt-Shift-S) to open the
Styles Task Pane.