Using styles in Microsoft Word is an incredibly useful way to format your documents more efficiently. Styles allow you to define a format, like font, font size, paragraph spacing etc, and then apply it throughout your document with just a click. This saves you time manually formatting, ensures consistency, and makes future formatting updates a breeze.
In this blog post, I’ll walk you through exactly how to use styles in Word to format your documents faster. We’ll cover:
- What are styles and why are they useful
- How to apply, create and modify styles
- Tips for using styles efficiently to save time
- Bonus time-saving shortcuts in Word
After reading, you’ll know how to tap into styles to work smarter in Word!
What Are Styles and Why Use Them?
Styles are predefined formats for text and paragraphs in Word. Some common examples include:
- Heading styles (Heading 1, Heading 2 etc) for titles and section headers
- Body text for the regular text paragraphs
- Block quote for indented text citations
- Hyperlink for links
- And more (caption, table styles etc)
When you apply a style, you instantly format the text or paragraph with the fonts, spacing, indents etc that have been defined.
This saves you time compared to manually formatting each paragraph individually. Plus, styles create consistency – headings all look the same rather than random formats.
Finally, styles make future updates easy. Just redefine the style rather than each instance. If you decide headings should be blue, just update the heading style once rather than each heading!
How to Apply Styles
Applying styles is simple. Here are the steps:
- Select the text you want to format
- Open the Home tab on the ribbon
- Locate the Styles section
- Click on the style you want to use from the gallery
The text will instantly adopt the formatting defined for that style.
Applying styles in Word
You can also apply styles with keyboard shortcuts:
- Ctrl + Shift + N for applying the Normal style
- Ctrl + Alt + 1 for Heading 1
- Ctrl + Alt + 2 Heading 2, etc
This is faster than clicking once you memorize the shortcuts.
Creating Custom Styles
Word comes preloaded with many styles. But you can also create custom styles tailored to your needs. Here’s how:
- Format a paragraph manually – set the font, size, spacing, alignment etc.
- Right click on the paragraph and select Styles > Create a Style
- Give your style a name and click OK.
Now whenever you apply that style, it will adopt the custom formatting!
Modifying Existing Styles
You can also tweak existing styles to better suit your needs. To do so:
- Right click on a paragraph with the style applied
- Select Modify
- Adjust any formatting settings on the popup and click OK
- The style will now reflect your changes
This allows you to update styles globally. No more repetitive manual formatting!
Handy Tips for Using Styles Efficiently
Here are some tips to use styles in Word like a pro:
- Use styles consistently throughout your document for a professional look
- Name custom styles intuitively like “Article Subheader”
- Modify styles judiciously when needed to maintain consistency
- Use keyboard shortcuts to apply styles rapidly
- Restrict use of manual formatting for exceptions
- Check styles before sharing documents to avoid messy formatting
Following these best practices will boost productivity. The more you utilize styles, the more time you’ll save!
Bonus: More Shortcuts for Working Faster
Beyond styles, Word has other handy shortcuts to expedite your work including:
- Ctrl + C and Ctrl + V to copy/paste content
- Ctrl + Z to undo mistakes
- F7 to launch the spell checker
- Alt + Enter to create a new paragraph without pressing Return
- Shift + F3 to cycle between sentence case, lower case and upper case
Master these along with style shortcuts to get the most out of Word!
Putting It All Together
There you have it – an actionable guide to using styles for faster formatting in Word.
- Styles apply predefined formats saving manual work
- Apply with the Styles gallery or shortcuts
- Create and modify styles to suit your needs
- Use styles plus other shortcuts to expedite work
By tapping into styles and keyboard shortcuts, you can transform the way you work in Word. This allows you to format documents faster and focus on what matters most – creating content!
Now put these tips into practice to save time on your next Word document.