Information Technology Blog

Using Styles in Microsoft Word

November 20, 2013

Formatting documents can be a repetitive and time-consuming task.  But by using a feature called styles in Microsoft Word you can speed up the process of formatting text.  The styles feature in Word allows you to save text-formatting into easily applied presets.  If you often apply formatting to text, such as indenting, spacing, and numbering, you can increase the efficiency of formatting by using styles.  Styles reduce the number of keystrokes you use, because you can automatically apply desired formatting as opposed to manually applying it.

As an example, say you want to create subheadings in a document.  You want the subheadings to be numbered, bold, and size 14 font.  You could apply this formatting manually for each instance of a subheading you create.  But, to be more efficient, you can create a style from the formatting and then simply click one button each time you want to apply the formatting saved in the style.

Here’s how to create a style:

  1. Create an example of the formatting you want.  So, for a subheading, you could create a number list, make the font bold and the text size 14.
    SubheadingThen, you create a style from this formatted text.
  2. Navigate to the Home tab in your navigation ribbon.Home Tab
  3. In the Styles section, click the downward arrow at the bottom right to expand the Style Pane.Expand Styles
  4. Highlight the text you want to create a style from.Highlight Text
  5. In the Style Pane, click New Style.New Style
    The New Style button saves the formatting from selected text into a style (in this case the selected text is Subheading example.
    The Create New Style from Formatting dialog box appears.
  6. In the Create New Style from Formatting dialog box, name your style and click OK to create the style.Set Formatting
    Now the desired formatting (bold, 14 pt, numbered) is saved in a custom style called Subheading.
  7. To apply your style, highlight text you want to format and then click your style in the Style Pane.Apply Style
    Clicking the Subheading style applies its saved formatting attributes to any selected text in the document.

So anytime you find yourself applying similar formatting over and over again in a document, remember that you can speed the process up by using styles.  Create an example of the formatting you wish to use and save the formatting as a style.  Then you can apply the saved formatting to any text simply by clicking the name of the custom style in the Style Pane.

Styles have many more benefits as well, such as integrating with Word templates and automatically updating all instances of a style when it’s changed.  For more information, check out the videos about styles, which you can access for free as a University member.