MS-Word / General Formatting

Applying a Style to Text and Paragraphs

Word offers several ways to apply a style, and you are invited to choose the one that works best for you. These pages explain how to choose a style set, apply a style, and tell Word how to present style names in various places for your enjoyment and pleasure.

Experimenting with style sets

A style set is a slight variation on the styles in the template you chose for your document. Style sets include Classic, Elegant, Fancy, and Modern. When you choose a style set, you impose a slightly different look on your document - you make it classier, more elegant, fancier, or more modern. All templates, even those you create yourself, offer style sets. Style sets are a convenient way to experiment with the overall look of a document.

To experiment with style sets, click the Change Styles button on the Home tab, choose Style Set on the drop-down list, and do one of the following:

Choose a new style set:
Choose a style set on the submenu.

Use the original styles in the template:
Choose Reset to Quick Styles from Template on the submenu.

Applying a style

The first step in applying a style is to select the paragraph you want to apply the style to, or to apply a style to several paragraphs, select all or part of them; if you are applying a character style, select the letters whose formatting you want to change. Then apply the style using one of these techniques:

Styles gallery:
On the Home tab, choose a style in the Styles gallery. Depending on the size of your screen, you may have to click the Quick Styles button to open the gallery. The formatted letters above each style name give you an idea of what your style choice will do to paragraphs or text. You can't tell from looking which type of style - Paragraph, Character, or Linked - you are choosing from, but you can "live-preview" styles on the Quick Styles gallery.

If styles from your template don't appear in the Quick Styles gallery and you want them to appear there, click the Change Styles button, choose Style Set on the drop-down list, and choose Reset to Quick Styles from Template on the submenu.

Styles window:
On the Home tab, click the Styles group button to open the Styles window, and select a style. By clicking the Show Preview check box, you can view formatted style names and get an idea of what the different styles are. You can drag the Styles window to different locations on your screen.

Apply Styles task pane:
Choose a style on the Apply Styles task pane. To display this task pane, open the Styles gallery and choose Apply Styles (look for this option at the bottom of the gallery). You can drag the Apply Styles task pane to a corner of the screen.

To strip a paragraph or text of its style and give it the generic Normal style, select it, open the Styles gallery, and choose Clear Formatting. You can also click the Clear All command at the top of the Styles window. To "unapply" a style throughout a document, open its drop-down list in the Styles window and choose Remove All.

Choosing which style names appear on the Style menus

You can apply a style by way of the Styles gallery, Styles window, and Apply Styles task pane. The latter two can become crowded with many style names, which makes choosing styles difficult. To make choosing styles easier, you can decide for yourself which style names appear on the Styles gallery, Styles window, and Apply Styles task pane.

In the Styles gallery, remove a style name by right-clicking it and choosing Remove from Quick Style Gallery. If you regret removing style names from the Styles gallery, click the Change Styles button and choose Style Set> Reset Document Quick Styles.

To decide for yourself which style names appear in the Styles window and Apply Styles task pane, click the Styles group button, and in the Styles window, click the Options link (you can find this link near the bottom of the window). You see the Style Pane Options dialog box, as shown in Figure below.

Style Pane Option dialog box

Choose options in the dialog box to tell Word which style names to present in the Styles window and Apply Styles task pane:

Select Styles to Show:
Choose All Styles to show all style names. The other options place a subset of names in the window and task pane. Recommended style names are those Microsoft thinks you need most often.

Select How List Is Sorted:
Choose an option to describe how to list styles. Except for Based On, these options, are self-explanatory. The Based On option lists styles in alphabetical order according to which style each is based on.

Select Formatting to Show As Styles:
Choose options to declare which styles to list - those that pertain to paragraph level formatting, fonts, and bulleted and numbered lists.

Select How Built-In Style Names Are Shown:
Choose options to tell how to handle built-in styles, the styles that Word applies on its own when you create tables of contents and other self-generating lists.

Apply to this document or to the template as well:
Click the Only in This Document option button to apply your choices only to the document you are working on; click the New Documents Based on This Template option button to apply your choices to your document and all future documents you create with the template you are using.
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