This browser does not support basic Web standards, preventing the display of our site's intended design. May we suggest that you upgrade your browser?

Microsoft Word 2008

Style Basics

The proper use of styles will help you save time in formatting your documents as well as provide a consistent look to them. When you change the formatting in the style, all paragraphs that are formatted with this style will automatically change. For more information about styles, refer to Styles: An Overview.

return to topAccessing the Formatting Palette

Styles can be quickly set, applied, and modified by using the Formatting Palette. The Formatting Palette should appear automatically on the right side of the screen when you open Word 2008. If the palette is not open, or for information about using it, refer to The Formatting Palette.

return to topCreating Your Own Styles

You can create styles of your own by formatting an example paragraph using the Formatting Palette. Specify formatting choices like paragraph indentations, line spacing, font, and font size. If your example paragraph contains left and right indents and a border, those formatting choices will also be part of your style. Then you create a new style based on the formatting in that paragraph.

When you create a style using the Formatting Palette, you have the option to apply that style to the currently selected paragraph or simply add it to the list of styles you created for your document or for your template. If the Formatting Palette is not open, refer to The Formatting Palette.

  1. Select the text you wish to format

  2. Using the Formatting Palette, apply the desired formatting
    NOTE: For more information about formatting options, refer to Paragraph Formatting Options and Fonts Overview.

  3. To create a new style, from the Formatting Palette, with the formatted text selected, in the Styles section, click NEW STYLENew Style button
    OR
    From the Current Style of Text Selected pull-down menu, select New Style...
    The New Style dialog box appears.

  4. In the Properties section, in the Name text box, type the name of the new style

  5. Click OK
    Your new style is added to the Style scroll box.

return to topApplying a Style

You can apply a paragraph or a character style by selecting a style name using the Formatting Palette. If the palette is not open, refer to The Formatting Palette.

  1. Select the text you wish to apply the style to

  2. In the Formatting Palette, in the Style section, from Pick style to apply scroll box, select the style you want to apply
    The selected style is applied.

return to topModifying a Style

When you modify a style, all the text that has been formatted with that style is updated to reflect the changes you have made. Suppose that you finish a 35-page report with many subheadings formatted with a style called Subhead which includes 18-point, bold, Arial, centered text. Now you decide that the subheadings should be smaller and justified left. Simply modify the Subhead style to reflect the new formatting and all the text within the Subhead style will change.

Each time you begin a new document based on the Normal template, Word uses the Normal style to determine the font, font size, line spacing, and other formats. If you find that you are always changing the font, the point size, or some other aspect of the Normal style, you can change its default format settings. If you are working in a lab, Word will not permanently update the Normal template.

NOTE: For more information about formatting options, refer to Paragraph Formatting Options and Fonts Overview.

Modifying a Style

  1. From the Formatting Palette, select the Styles toolbar
    The Styles toolbar appears.

  2. In the Pick style to apply scroll menu, from the desired style's pull-down menu, select Modify Style...
    The Modify Style dialog box opens.
    Modify Style dialog box

  3. From the Format pull-down menu, select the formatting option you want to change
    The selected formatting dialog box opens.
    Format pull-down menu

  4. Make the desired changes

  5. Click OK
    You are returned to the Modify Style dialog box.

  6. OPTIONAL: Repeat steps 2 through 4 until you have made all of your formatting changes.

return to topDeleting a Style

When you delete a paragraph style that you created, Word applies the Normal style to all paragraphs formatted with that style. If you delete a character style you created, Word removes the style formats from any text that you applied the character style to.

NOTE: Not all built-in styles can be deleted.

  1. From the Formatting Palette, select the Styles toolbar
    The Styles toolbar appears.

  2. In the Pick style to apply scroll menu, from the desired style's pull-down menu, select Delete...
    A confirmation dialog box appears.

  3. Click YES
    The style is deleted.

return to topClearing All Formatting

There may be times when you want to clear all formatting from selected text or even an entire document. You could be working with text from another source or you might want to start fresh with unformatted text.

  1. Select the text you want to remove the formatting from
    HINT: To select all the text in your document, press [Cmd] + [A]

  2. From the Formatting Palette, in the Styles section, from the Style pull-down menu, select Clear Formatting
    All formatting is removed from the selected text and the Normal style is applied.

Excellence. Our Measure. Our Motto. Our Goal.