Modifying Word Styles

This week’s Tech Tip Tuesday will introduce Microsoft’s Word built in styles. This tip is best learned with hands on the keyboard. So, open a new blank Word document.

What is a Style?

A style is a predefined set of formatting, applied to a paragraph in Word. Word formats between its paragraph marks.

Step 1 – Turn on Show/Hide Paragraph Marks

Turn on the “Show/Hide” Paragraph marks in Word to see what I mean. If you place your cursor anywhere inside a set of paragraph marks, you can use a style to change the text in that paragraph.

Turn on paragraph marks






Step 2 – Type some text

Type “this is normal text.”

Normal Text



Step 3 – Define a Style

Next, look for the area marked “Styles.”





Right click on “Normal” and click Modify.

Modify Styles






This box will allow you to choose how you want your text to look. I recommend changing the name to something like “doc_text” so can reserve the built in “Normal” text.

Modify Format









Once that is done, change the options to bold and double spaced, just to see how styles work. Now, put your cursor anywhere between the paragraph marks of the text you want to change and choose “doc_text.” Note how the text has changed. The text is formatted as bold and double spaced.







Other Applications

Styles are the best way to format text in Word. You can format multiple paragraphs quickly with the same style (e.g., first line indent with double spacing). There are many other uses as well. In a future post, I’ll discuss how to use heading Styles to create an automatic Table of Contents.

What are your favorite formatting tricks?

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