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10 Microsoft Word Style secrets

Helen Bradley | Aug. 13, 2012
As with most things in life, there’s an easy way to do things in Microsoft Word, and a there’s hard way. Using styles might seem like too much effort when you're busy, but this feature can save you a great deal of time should you ever need to change a document's formatting later.

You can now apply your style to any text by selecting the text and clicking the style's name in the Styles Gallery. If you want the style to be available to all future documents you create in this template, right-click its name in the Style Gallery, choose Modify, click the New documents based on this template option button, and click OK. Word will save the style into the template.

3. Turn the Clock Back to Word 2003

One generally unpopular change that Microsoft introduced with Word 2007 (and carried forward to Word 2010) is a new paragraph default style that includes excessive amounts of space between paragraphs. You can go back to the tighter paragraph layout that was standard in Word 2003 by selecting any existing text in the document and, under the Home tab on the Ribbon, selecting Change Styles > Style Set > Word 2003. This action applies the Word 2003 paragraph styling to the document, causing the excess spacing to disappear.

4. Clean Up After Others

Occasionally someone will send you a document that I call a "choc chip cookie," a document dotted with all sorts of styles and fonts. If all you want is a plain text file, or if you prefer a clean document that you can format from scratch, you can remove the existing formatting quickly and easily.

Select all of the text in the document by pressing Ctrl-A, and then press Ctrl-Space to remove any special formatting. If the text paragraphs have styles associated with them, the styles will remain in place, but any additional formatting will vanish.

If you press Ctrl-Q, all styles will return to their original look. So if someone has altered a styled paragraph by, say, changing its alignment, your key command will undo that alignment change, and the paragraph will revert to the style defaults.

To get rid of absolutely everything, press Ctrl-Shift-N to set the entire document to normal style. Alternatively, you can click the Home tab, display the Styles Gallery drop-down menu, and click Clear Formatting.

5. Borrow Styles From Other Documents

As I mentioned earlier, Word saves styles with a document. On top of that, you can copy styles from one document to another; all you need to do is launch the Document Template Organizer. To do that, however, you need the Developer tab to be visible on the Ribbon. (If it isn'tit should be the last tab on the right end of the Ribbonadd it by choosing File > Options > Customize Ribbon. Look over in the right panel, place a check next to Developer, and click OK.)

Open the document into which you want to copy the styles, click the Developer tab, and then click Document Template > Organizer. When the Organizer dialog box appears, click the Styles tab. On the left side, youll see the styles in the currently open document. On the right side, youll see those styles in the current template (typically normal.dotm). Click the Close File button below the right pane, so that you can open another document in this pane. Click Open File, and open the document that contains the styles you want to copy. When its styles appear in the right pane, select any style and then click the Copy button to copy it to your current document.


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