Word Styles | CustomGuide
Word 2021 Basic

Word Styles

How to Apply and Modify Styles in Word

Word Styles

A style is a group of formatting settings stored under a single name. Using styles and style sets rather than formatting ad hoc has several advantages:

  • The document looks professional and is easy to read.
  • Styles provide consistency and can apply several formatting properties at one time.
  • Heading styles can be used to create tables of contents and outlines.
  • If you change the formatting properties of a style, all instances of the style are updated with the formatting changes.

Apply a Style

Word includes several built-in styles that cover most basic formatting needs in a document.

  1. Click in the paragraph or select the text you want to apply a style to.
  2. Click the Styles group dialog box launcher on the Home tab.
  3. Alternatively, you can browse within the Styles gallery on the ribbon, which will also preview the formatting used in the style, but it's often easier to choose from all the available styles at once by clicking the dialog box launcher.

  4. Select a style from the Styles pane.
    Apply a Style

The style is applied to the text or paragraph.

Change Style Sets

Another advantage to using styles throughout your document is the ability to quickly change how those styles appear using Style Sets.

Style Sets will update the appearance of the built-in default styles. This way, you can format these elements at once instead of one by one.

  1. Click the Design tab.
  2. Open the Style Set gallery by clicking the gallery’s More button.
  3. Thumbnails previewing the available Style Sets appear.

  4. Select a Style Set.
    Change Style Sets

The new Style Set is applied, affecting all the default styles used in the document.

Default Styles
Normal The document’s main body text. Any text not using another style is set in Normal.
No Spacing Normal text, with no additional spacing between paragraphs.
Heading 1, 2, 3 Three levels of headings to use in your document, with outline levels automatically applied.
Title A larger heading, useful for the main title of a document.
Subtitle, Subtitle Emphasis Subtitle text, styled to complement the Title style, along with an additional style for emphasis.
Emphasis, Intense Emphasis, Strong These styles are meant to emphasize text in a document. Emphasis usually italicizes, Strong usually bolds, and Intense Emphasis will usually do both.
Quote, Intense Quote These styles will separate blocks of text to display a quote.
Subtle Reference, Intense Reference, Book Title These styles are meant for text used to cite references and book titles.
List Paragraph This style is automatically applied when text is used in a numbered or bulleted list.

Create a Style

You can also create your own styles, saving a set of formatting to use easily in other places. If the need arises, creating a style is quick and easy. There are five different types of styles:

  • Character: Includes any type of character formatting, such as font size, type, color, and effects. These styles can be applied to any selected text.
  • Paragraph: Includes any type of paragraph formatting, such as paragraph, tab, border, and bullets and numbering formats. These styles will be applied to entire paragraphs.
  • Linked: Uses a combination of character and paragraph formatting properties. These styles will be applied to entire paragraphs as well.
  • Table: Provides a consistent style for all borders, shading, alignment and fonts in tables.
  • List: Applies similar alignment, numbering or bullet characters and fonts to lists.

You can also base a style on another style. The new style will inherit the formatting of the original style, as well as any changes made to the original style later.

  1. Format the selected text the way you’d like it to appear in your style.
  2. Click the New Style button, in the Styles pane.
  3. The differences between the selected text that was formatted and the style that it’s based on will be captured. The style that it’s based on will also be listed here.

  4. Give the new style a name.
  5. Make any additional adjustments to the style formatting.
  6. Basic formatting commands are found right in this dialog box. To customize more advanced formatting, click the Format button and select a category from the menu.

  7. Click OK.
    Create a Style

The new style is created and can be applied to other text in the document.

Modify a Style

One of the benefits of using styles is that when you make a change to one, everything that's using the style is automatically updated.

  1. Change the formatting of some text using a style.
  2. Click that Style’s list arrow in the Styles pane.
  3. To delete a style, select Delete or Revert to [style name]. If there is no option to delete the style, reverting it back to the style it was based on effectively deletes the style.

  4. Select Update [style name] to Match Selection.
    Modify a Style

The style is updated, and the changes you made are applied to all text that uses the style.

Only Show Styles in Use

There are a lot of built-in styles that don't get used and get in the way of the styles you're working with. You can change the Styles pane settings to show only the styles used in a document.

  1. Click Options in the Styles pane.
  2. The Style Pane Options dialog box opens.

  3. Click the Select styles to show list arrow.
  4. Select In use.
  5. Click OK.
    Only Show Styles in Use

Now only the styles used in the document are shown in the Styles pane.