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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.

8. Make a Table of Contents From Heading Styles

The heading styles that come with Wordnamely, Heading1, Heading2, and Heading3are useful not only for headings but also for speeding up the creation of a table of contents for a long document.

First select a piece of text to format as a heading. Click the Home tab, and open the Styles Gallery. Choose the Heading1 style for a first-level heading, or the Heading2 style for a second-level heading. You can also use shortcut keys for these styles: Press Ctrl-Alt-1 for Heading1 and Ctrl-Alt-2 for Heading2. Since these are paragraph styles, you simply need to place the cursor somewhere in the paragraph to apply them; you don't have to select the entire heading.

Once you have formatted your document headings accordingly, you're ready to create a table of contents. Click in the document where the table of contents should appear, select the References tab, choose Table of Contents > Insert Table of Contents, and click OK. Word will automatically create a table of contents using the headings formatted with the Heading1 style as the main entries, the headings formatted with Heading2 as subentries, and the text formatted with Heading3 as third-level entries.

9. Set Special Features for Code Text

If you create documents that include special textcomputer code, for exampleyou might not want Word to check the spelling on that text. You can create a style that you can then apply to such text to prevent the spelling checker from scanning it. First, select some text that looks the way you want the code to be formatted. Click the Home tab, and on the Styles Gallery drop-down menu, choose Save Selection as a New Quick Style. Type a name for this style, such as ComputerCode, and click Modify. Next, click the Format button, select Language, enable the Do not check spelling or grammar checkbox, and click OK.

If you wish, select the New documents based on this template option to make this style available for all future documents you create with this template, and click OK.

10. View Styles in the Style Pane

If youre interested in (or confused about) using styles in your document, and if you want to see where styles have been applied, check the Style pane. Click File > Options > Advanced, locate Display Options, set the 'Style area pane width in both Draft and Outline views' value to 1.5 inches, and click OK.

To see the Style pane, click the View tab and select either Draft or Outline. The Style pane will appear on the left side of the screen, listing the name of the style in use for each paragraph. You can easily adjust the width of the Style pane by dragging its divider. Since the Style pane appears only in Draft and Outline views, it will disappear if you switch back to Print Layout view.



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