June 06, 2011

Styles and Templates in Microsoft Word 2007, Part 1

Stephen Stine

video tutorial accompanying this article is available for ABA members.

Learning to use styles and new features introduced in Microsoft Word 2007 such as Quick Style Sets and the Quick Styles Gallery can save you time in drafting documents.

Styles for one-click formatting

Styles” in Microsoft Word allows you to simultaneously apply multiple formatting options to a document with a click of the mouse. For example, imagine that you have to format certain text in Garamond font, 12 point, blue, bold and small caps, as well as apply single-spacing and left-side paragraph indentions of 1-inch. Instead of applying those options one by one, you can save all your formatting choices as a style and apply them with a single mouse click.

Saving new styles

Once you draft text with your formatting choices, there are two ways of saving that formatting as a style for future use.

One method is to select the formatted text, then click on the diagonal arrow in the lower right-hand corner of the Styles group on the Home tab of the Ribbon. On the Styles pane that appears, click on the New Style icon (an image of double A’s with a yellow spark) in the lower-left corner. In the New Style window that appears next, type in a name for your new style.

Note that if you want your new style saved as a template, thereby making it accessible to future documents, click on the radio button labeled "New documents based on this template," otherwise your new style will only apply to the Word document in which it was created.

Another method of saving a style is to right-click on the formatted text and select “Styles,” then “Save Selection As A New Quick Style.” To save your formatting choices to your template, rather than just your current document, click on the Modify button and select "New Documents Based on This Template" in the Modify Style window that will appear.

Note that in the Modify Style window, if the Style type dropdown menu is set to "Paragraph," your style will be applied to the entire paragraph, not just the selected text. If the menu is instead set to "Linked (paragraph and character)," the style will only impact your selected text.

Use built-in styles for easy document navigation/summarization

Styles is also a useful tool when reviewing long, dense documents. Word’s Outlining and Document Map features can show you at a glance how a document is organized. Outlining presents your document in outline form, while Document Map aggregates your document’s headers as links in a separate window so you can easily navigate to their associated paragraphs without slogging through each and every text block.

Styles provides the formatting standardization necessary to render a document as an outline or map. Use one of several available pre-formatted, hierarchically organized styles to take advantage of the Outlining and Document Map features.

To further ensure that Word can properly format your document as an outline or map, enter your body text using the Body Text style instead of the default Normal style. Any formatting alterations in Normal style will cascade and cause changes to the other document styles. Using the Body Text style has no such ill effects.

Modifying existing styles

Microsoft Word offers many built-in styles that you can modify to suit your needs.

One method is to right-click on the style you’d like to change after locating it in the Quick Styles Gallery or on the Styles pane; then select the Modify option, which allows you to change the style properties as you desire. To save these changes to your template, click on "New documents based on this template.”

The other method involves making changes to your text first, then updating the style to reflect those changes. After changing the formatting of your text created with a certain style, right-click on the text and select Styles, then ”Update (style name) to Match Selection.” To save these changes to your template, right-click on the style name in the Gallery or Styles pane and select the "New documents based on this template."

After applying a change to a certain style, you may want to have that change automatically apply to the whole document. To do so, right-click on the style you’d like to update, select Modify, then select the checkbox labeled “Automatically update.” For example, if you have one of your Heading 1 lines re-styled in Arial font from Times New Roman font, all instances of Heading 1 will automatically be updated from Times New Roman to Arial.

Read part two of this guide.

Stephen Stine