Styles in Word

What are Styles in Word?

At their most basic, Styles in Word are a quick way of applying a number of formats to a font in one go. By applying a Style to a block of text, you can, at a single click, change it from the default “Calibri 11” to Arial, Size 16, Bold, with a blue colour & red underline… OK, that may be a little OTT, but once set up, Styles can not only speed up the creation of a document but also ensure that your document has a consistent “look & feel”.

However, in addition to “making your document look pretty”, Styles are also used by Word to allow you to quickly create Tables of Contents in longer documents by using the text that’s been marked as Headings to drive the details of the table of contents and, once set up, if you then add in further content, a refresh of your table of contents updates it with all of your new information. Gone are the days when you typed your own contents pages & manually adjusted the page numbers.

So, how do we do this?

Creating styles to use

When I’m talking about Styles in Word, I’m referring to this block of icons on the home tab…

If you look closely, you’ll notice a thick grey border around the letters & word “Normal” – that indicates that the Normal style is initially being used to do any typing. By selecting some text & clicking on any of the other buttons (& there’s a lot more that you can’t see from the beginning) you’ll immediately change it from Normal to look like one of the various Styles shown. In addition, built in to Word (& accessible from the Design Tab are a lot more pre-formatted Word Styles – some good, others less so.

So, back on the Home Tab, it’s possible to edit the default Word Style by Right Clicking on it & selecting Modify from the drop down.

However, I prefer to use the option above that & get Word to update the heading to match a Style that I’ve created within my document. I do it this way as it enables me to quickly see how each of the heading styles will look in comparison to each other.

So, the first step is to set out the various type of headings that you want in a blank document…

… and then change them to how you would like them to appear with different Fonts, colours, etc

To save me reinventing the wheel, I first went to the Design Tab & told Word to use the colour scheme for the Safeguarding Association that we created last time – this means the headings that I create will match the corporate colours of the Association. Then I went back to the Home tab & used the Font and Paragraph groups to change how each of my headings look…

So, this is now my headings set up & ready to use…

…all that I have to do is to match them to Word’s Styles… which I do by selecting each one in turn, right clicking on the Style that I want updating & selecting “Update Heading to match selection” from the drop down menu…

… and the Styles change to match how they look in my document

Saving your Styles

Once you’ve spent the time creating your Styles in Word, you’ll want to ensure that you can use them in other documents, so it’s back to the Design Tab & select the More button…

This then expands the selection & provides the option to Save as a New Style Set…

Which allows you to give it a name (so I’ve picked one that makes sense for this document) – leave the folder where Word wants to save it as the default (Word will find them more easily that way) …

And now, when I need to create a document for the Safeguarding Association, there on the Design Tab is the Style all ready to use…

Of course, I could (if this was the only Word Style set that I needed), make it the default by selecting the option