An Extreme Tutorial on Styles in Microsoft Word
This tutorial uses Word 2003, however virtually all applies to Word 2002 and
many things apply to lesser versions.
Styles can be incredibly confusing. There's a lot to them, and rightly so. I
hope that by the time you are done this tutorial, you understand them a whole
lot better than you did, but don't expect to remember everything right away.
For more information on styles see:
And so that you can best follow along for our tutorial, change your Word
settings as per
Then, download the
I have created so we don't have to mess around with creating sample paragraphs
and so you have exactly what you see in our screenshots.
We are working in Print Layout view (View®Print
Layout) at about 100% zoom. Also, turn on your
Also, set your menus so you can easily follow along using the settings
If at any time during this tutorial, your results are not as expected, you
may wish to rename (at least temporarily) your normal.dot file. See the
Please read this
article to ensure that you understand about styles to a degree that this
tutorial makes sense.
This tutorial uses stylestutorial.doc, so please open that
Place your cursor anywhere in the text "Heading 1". Hit Format®Style
and choose Heading 1 from the task pane at the right of your screen.
Note that to apply this paragraph style, we didn't have to
select the paragraph, we only had to have our cursor placed inside of it, and
the entire paragraph (the space between the last paragraph return—if
any—up to and including the following paragraph
return) becomes formatted.
Did you know that paragraph formatting is
stored in that paragraph return? That's why, sometimes, when you delete a
paragraph return, you suddenly lose your formatting.
Select each of the Headings 2, 3, and 4 in the document and
apply that style to its text. Hard to find Heading 4? Look down at the bottom of
the Styles and formatting task pane and change it to "All Styles":
Did you know that using Heading 1, 2, and 3
will give you a method to quickly create a Table of Contents? See
For each of the remaining paragraphs of text, apply the style to
which that paragraph refers: body text, list bullet, etc. Stop applying styles
when you reach the paragraph "Stop here."
Go back up to the paragraph to which we applied Heading 1.
Select it and keep it selected until you're directed to select something other
paragraph. Format the font to be Verdana, 18-pt, red font. Also, hit Format®Paragraph,
click on the Line and Page breaks tab, and choose Page Break Before. Hit OK.
"What's the benefit of such a setting?" you
may ask. When setting up documents that may be printed by Judy at home on her
little HP printer or by Sue over at BigCompanyUSA on the whopping
quarter-million-dollar color printer, inserting manual page breaks can be
article for more information.) Using this setting can keep us from inserting
manual page breaks. There are other, similarly friendly but underused settings
just like this in Word.
You'll notice that it didn't put a page break before our
paragraph because Word is smart enough to know this is our first page.
Now, here's where I sometimes got confused when I was learning
the newer versions' styles. See how, in the graphic below, the Heading 1 is red,
and yet, below that, it doesn't show us the Font color. Note that the heading
above the red text says "Formatting of selected text".
Right-click the Heading 1 under "Pick formatting to apply".
Choose Update to Match Selection. You have just altered your Heading 1 style in
And now the two match:
Your document should currently look like this:
What are those little squares for? The
squares you see that look almost like bullets, and that are to the left of all
of our heading styles, tell us that there is some paragraph formatting in use
under the Line and Page Breaks tab. While our Heading 1 has Page break before
selected, it and all the other Heading styles also have Keep with next selected.
Keep with next is another very cool setting that keeps us from having a heading
stuck at the bottom of a page all by itself, and we don't have to enter a manual
page break to make it go to the next page. If the heading and its following
paragraph don't fit on the this page, it takes both to the next page.
Have you noticed that we have no paragraph
returns between our paragraphs? That's because Word has another cool setting
called Space before and after. This lets us set paragraphs apart from each other
without having to put in all those paragraph returns. We could also decide we
want a little more space between the paragraphs, so rather than select all those
returns we placed between them and making the font bigger, we can simply change
the Space before and after in the Format®Paragraph
dialog for that style, and they're all changed all at once! You can see that the
Body Text and Heading styles are using this setting, but the bulleted and
numbered lists are not.
Select the List Bullet paragraph, and hit FormatParagraph, and
set the after spacing to be 6 pts. You can use the arrows to go up or down in
6-point increments if you like. I like to type it in myself because I often use
points that are not in 6-point increments (I like 3 pts before and after in my
tables, for instance). Hit OK.
Right-click List Bullet in the Styles and Formatting task pane,
and choose Update to Match Selection.
Repeat the space before and after settings on the rest of the
styles where the name begins with "list", and update each style to match the
Hit the Zoom drop-down on the Standard toolbar and choose Whole
Your page should look like this:
Return to Page width or some other comfortable zoom setting.
Go down below the Stop Here paragraph in the document and select
the paragraph about Notes. Center it, then put a border around it using the
Outside border toolbar button, as shown:
Hit Format®Paragraph and put a
half-inch indent on both left and right, and hit OK.
Your new Note text should look something like this:
You may want to put 12 points before and after your Notes
paragraph to allow a nice amount of white space. When you're done, Update the
style to match the selection as we have been doing with other styles.
I often like to put colored bottom borders
(use the Format®Borders and shading, Borders tab) on
my Heading 1 styles. It's a nice break in the monotony of a manual and the
border goes all the way across the page. Looks something like this.
In my opinion, Character styles are a lot less useful. However,
if you created a manual and the boss said they wanted the names of any companies
to always appear in red, you could use a character style. Then, later, someone
says those company names must actually be green and italic, you simply modify
the character style instead of going through and formatting each company name
Choose the words "Company Name" where it first appears in the
last paragraph of the sample document.
A character style might be any text that is bolded. For
instance, suppose we always want our company name to appear in bold red font,
regardless of the formatting of the paragraph in which that text resides. We
can create a character style for it. I've called it MyCharStyle in the graphic
As you may know, if you select some bold text and hit the bold button again, it
actually unbolds it. Likewise, when I apply the bold MyCharStyle style to some of the words in a
paragraph where the style is already bold, it unbolds it, as you can see below.
Be careful what font attributes you choose when creating your own character
The following attributes cannot be built into Character styles: Tabs, paragraph
spacing, paragraph alignment, paragraph indents, bullets, numbering.
Now, select the next instance of the text in that paragraph that
says "Company Name" and apply the style to it. Select each instance of "Company
Name" thereafter in the paragraph and hit the F4 key, which repeats the last
command and should apply that character formatting to each instance of a company
Graphics and Captions
Select the Office Articles logo. Center it. Format the paragraph
to have 12 points before and 12 points after. Set the Style for the following
paragraph to be Caption. Set the Line and page breaks tab to be Keep with next
so that your graphic "sticks" never appears at the bottom of a page with its
caption on the next page. You may have to right-click on the Graphic style and
choose Modify selection to set the Style for the following paragraph. Did you
notice? Be sure to Update the style to match selection if you make any changes
after you create the style.
If you feel I have missed anything in this tutorial on styles,
please use the Fix an Article link
to tell me!
OfficeArtilces.com debuted on May 26, 2005.
MrExcel.com provides examples of Formulas, Functions and Visual Basic procedures
for illustration only, without warranty either expressed or implied, including
but not limited to the implied warranties of merchantability and/or fitness for
a particular purpose. The Formulas, Functions and Visual Basic procedures on
this web site are provided "as is" and we do not guarantee that they can be used
in all situations.
Access®, Excel®, FrontPage®, Outlook®, PowerPoint®, Word® are registered
trademarks of the Microsoft Corporation.
MrExcel® TM is a registered trademark of Tickling Keys, Inc.
All contents © 1998-2014 by MrExcel Consulting | All rights reserved