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I have three character styles in most of my pleading documents. Two replace Bold and Italic formatting. The third is for citations. The first two are built-in character styles of “Strong” and “Emphasis.” I started using these before Word had a replace formatting feature. I’m not sure they are needed. They provide a simple way of changing how I emphasize something throughout a document by simply changing the style. It starts out that “Strong” is bold and “Emphasis” is Italicized.
The third, though, has proved its worth through time. It is the Citation character style. I set it to Italic and set the language formatting to “no proofing.” This means that case citations with it will not alert the spell checker. (Of course, this also means you better have the correct spelling.) It also disables automatic hyphenation. To set this up, you would create a new character style and use the formatting drop-down to add the Italic and “no-proofing” formatting. The Italic formatting comes through the font formatting dialog, and the “no-proofing” comes through the language dialog. In later versions of Word “no-proofing” is known as “Do not check spelling or grammar.”
Character styles can also be used as targets for the StyleRef field. This field gives very quick automatic updating. A mark text that may be edited. I will often use character styles that apply to only one word or phrase in a document that I want to repeat StyleRef Field is used instead of a Ref field to repeat it elsewhere.
The built in heading styles in Word have special properties that make them almost magical. There are keyboard shortcuts for the top three. They can appear without any customization in a Table of Contents generated by Word, you can link and navigate to them with cross-referencing features, and more. See Why use Microsoft Word’s built-in heading styles? by Shauna Kelly, MVP, for sixteen reasons to use these styles. In Word 2007 and later, the Heading Styles are Linked Styles by default.
The primary reason to do this is when you want a snippet from the beginning of a particular heading to appear in a Table of Contents but don’t want the entire heading in the Table of Contents.
The screenshot above, with non-printing formatting marks displayed, shows two different paragraph styles used in one logical printed paragraph. Note the pillcrow (paragraph mark) with the dots around it separating the two. The colors of the styles here are different. The usual use of this, though, would be for the styles to look the same. This was used in automatically generating the Table of Contents. The second part of the paragraph, in the non-heading style did not get picked up in the Table of Contents.
You would not want to base the second style on the heading style though, because then it would also be a heading style. This is, instead, based on the Body Text style and formatted using the same font and size as the Heading 1 Style.
You can add a Style Separator to the end of a paragraph using the Ctrl+Alt+Enter Keyboard Shortcut. Then you add your text for the separate style.
Here is another screenshot:
If you delete a Style Separator, the entire paragraph will take on the formatting of the text preceding the Separator. See this thread on the Microsoft Answers forum for more.
As of this writing (March, 2017), the Style Separator does not exist on the Macintosh versions of Word. You can create your own by simply pressing Enter at the end of the first part of your text (style 1) and creating your following text in Style 2 in the new paragraph. Then go back and select the paragraph mark at the end of the first paragraph and mark it as Hidden text (Cmd+Shift+H). This method works on Windows versions as well (Ctrl+Shift+H).
See also Creating
When you add a style separator, the insertion point and the style separator will both be at the end of the Word paragraph. If you have a paragraph already written and you wish to separate part of it out, place your insertion point where you want the separation to occur. Instead of pressing Ctrl+Alt+Enter, simply press the Enter key. This creates a new Word paragraph.
Format that new paragraph using a style that will not be picked up in the Table of Contents. Then go to the paragraph that you want to show up in the Table of Contents and press Ctrl+Alt+Enter.
This will rejoin the two paragraphs, with a Style Separator between them.
Note: Style Separators and Automatically Numbered paragraphs. Only the first should be numbered.
You should not use the Style Separator to try to combine two automatically numbered paragraphs. If you do, the numbering will disappear in the text but may still appear as a separate line in the Table of Contents! The numbering will still count, and the next paragraph will act like it is there but the reader will not see it.
The paragraph with the additional text should not be in a style that is designated to appear in a Table of Contents. For examinations of these problems, look at this Stack Overflow question and my answer here: Delete Blank Space When Using Macro to Insert Style Separator.
If numbering is needed for the joined paragraph, I recommend using SEQ Field numbering insteand of list numbering. Numbering in Microsoft Word. That way, the numbers will appear in the text. That joined paragraph should not be in a style that appears in the Table of Contents.
Microsoft Word Styles are the most basic building blocks in Word. One of the first things you’ll need to learn after you master the interface and basic formatting is using the Quick Styles listed on the Home tab. Often, though, the Quick Styles don’t contain a particular Style your document needs.
If the default Microsoft Word Styles don’t fully meet your needs (for example, you need one for block quotes), you can create a new one. There are a couple of different ways to do this. I’ll start with what I think is the easiest one first.
Creating a new Style from an example
You’ll get this dialog box:
Word will automatically name this Style1; you’ll want to rename it here if you did not already do it in the previous dialog box as I did.
Word has several Style types: Paragraph, Character, Linked (which combines Paragraph and Character), Table and List. Since this is really intended to be a collection of paragraph settings, Linked isn’t really the best choice, because if I change the font style or size elsewhere in the document and apply Block Quote as a Linked Style, it’s going to change the text back to Calibri 11. The Style type Paragraph is a better choice in this instance.
If I’m typing a Block Quote paragraph and I press the Enter key, what Style do I want the following paragraph to default to? That’s the question answered here. It’s a matter of personal convenience and obviously depends on what sort of document you’re working on.
Any changes you make in formatting (see 7) will show up in this Preview window …
… and you can review the settings themselves in this window.
These settings control three things: (a) whether you can access this Style in the Styles Gallery on the Home tab (if you want to keep this one handy, leave that box checked); (b) whether you want any Styles to automatically update themselves based on manual formatting you do in your document (for example, if you altered the indentation on one paragraph that had the Block Quote Style applied to it, checking this box means that the Style itself reflects those changes, and all the paragraphs with Block Quote applied will change, not just the one you edited). I recommend leaving this one unchecked—it tends to wreak havoc in documents; (c) whether you want this Style to be available only within this document or any documents you create in the future in this template.
Creating a new Style from scratch
If you’ve got a specific set of requirements and are fairly adept with character and paragraph formatting, though, you can simply create a new Style from scratch. For this example, I’m going to create one for quoted deposition text.
You’ll get the now-familiar dialog box:
You’ll notice that I designated this to be a Paragraph Style. Since this Style is intended to control how the text indents and spaces, I want it to be independent of font settings, etc., so I can use it with any font settings in any document.
I did three things here (circled in red):
I chose a half-inch hanging indent
I selected Single spacing
I inserted 12 points of space between the paragraphs and made a point of instructing Word to insert that space even between paragraphs of this same Style.
You can preview the results in the Preview pane (circled in blue above).
By default, a table is created with the Table Grid style, which includes a basic black border around each cell in the table. Word includes many built-in styles that provide more visual appeal.
The Table Styles group will show a few table styles, but to see the rest, you’ll need to expand the gallery.
Select a style.
The style is applied to the table, changing the borders, shading, and colors.
You could create a new style by selecting New Table Style or modify an existing one by selecting Modify Table Style and choosing which formatting you’d like.
To remove a Table Style, select Clear from the More Table Styles menu.
You can further customize a table style by changing the table style options.
Use the check boxes in the Table Style Options group to toggle the following settings:
Header Row will apply special formatting to the first row of the table. This special formatting can include font effects, or font, background, and border color.
First Column will apply special formatting to the first column.
Total Row will add special formatting to the final row of a table, designed to summarize the rows above it.
Last Column will apply special formatting to the last column to summarize the earlier columns.
Banded Rows will alternate the background color of rows.
Banded Columns will alternate the background color of columns.
You can control how text is aligned within a table cell, just like you’d align text on the page.
Select the cell or cells you want to align.
You could also select the entire table if you want to align all the text together.
Expand the Alignment group, if necessary.
There are nine alignment options, letting you align the content to either side of a cell, any corner, or center it in the middle of the cell.
Select an alignment option.
The text in the selected cell realigns to the selected side or corner.
You can also select Text Direction to change the text from left-to-right to top-to-bottom or bottom-to-top.
You can also adjust the margins between cell borders and the text within those cells.
Select cell or cells you want to adjust.
You can select the entire table to adjust all the margins at once.
From the Layout tab, expand the Alignment group, if necessary.
In the Table Options dialog box, we can adjust the margins for the selected cell or cells. The margin affects how much space there is between the edge of the cell and the contents of that cell.
Adjust the margins.
You can adjust the margin on each side of the cell independently.
The cell margins are changed.
Why I don’t use Custom Table Styles in Microsoft Word 2002 and 2003
Quick Reference: Why I don’t use Table Styles in Word 2002 or 2003
I’ve given up trying to use Table Styles for professional documentation. This page explains why.
In Word 2002, Microsoft introduced Table Styles. “Wow!”, I thought. Table Styles promised a quick way to format tables consistently and easily.
And on the face of it, they do.
In my work, I create templates for professional use. I need to define custom ways to control table formatting in several subtle ways. Using custom Table Styles should be the answer to my needs. But I don’t find them useful.
Microsoft has never documented how they work. I’ve only been able to discover how they work through trial and error, and from reading about other users’ frustrations on Microsoft’s newsgroups.
Every few months since Word 2002 was introduced, I’ve experimented with Table Styles. Every few months I’ve been disappointed, because they never give me quite what I need.
This is why I’ve finally given up on them.
Table Styles aren’t a grouping of paragraph styles
Paragraph styles are the basic mechanism for formatting text in Word. You can’t do serious work without coming to grips with them.
In my view, Table Styles should be a mechanism for identifying which paragraph styles I want used in my text + the overall settings the table itself needs.
But that’s not how Table Styles work. They apply direct formatting to my text, and they don’t play nicely with paragraph styles.
Table Styles don’t play nicely with Paragraph Styles
If text in the paragraph is in any paragraph style other than Normal, then sometimes the formatting of the Table Style over‑rides the paragraph style, and sometimes vice versa. For example:
if the Table Style is formatted so that the text is right‑aligned, and I apply a paragraph style that is left‑aligned, then the text will be right‑aligned. The Table Style “wins” the alignment debate.
if the Table Style is formatted with 9pt font, and I apply a paragraph style that has 10pt font, then the text will be 10pt. The paragraph style “wins” the font size debate.
This leaves me frustrated and confused. I apply a paragraph style to text in my table, and Word applies only some of the paragraph style’s settings. Only by trial and error can I can work out which settings of a paragraph style will be applied to the text in a table.
As a user, this single reason is sufficient for me to avoid Table Styles.
Table Styles apply fonts inconsistently
The font identified for the Table Style appears to be applied inconsistently. From testing with trial and error, the rules appear to be the following.
If I apply a Table Style to a table, and if the Table Style uses the same font as the document’s Normal style, then the font in the Table Style is applied to text in the table.
If I apply a Table Style to a table, and if the Table Style uses a font that is different from the document’s Normal style, then:
if the text in the table is in style Normal, the font specified in the Table Style is ignored.
if the style of the text in the table is in some other paragraph style, then the other style’s font is respected and the other paragraph style’s font is applied to the text.
Table Styles apply font sizes inconsistently
The font size defined in a Table Style will only be applied to my table if the document’s Normal style happens to be either 10pt or 12pt.
If the document’s Normal style uses, say, Times New Roman 11pt, then any font size I define in the Table Style is ignored.
Furthermore, I can only use 10pt fonts in a Table Style if the document’s Normal style is in 10pt. If style Normal is in some other size, I can have 9pt, or 11pt in my Table Style, but not 10pt.
Table Styles expect that all text in my table is in style Normal
When I go to insert a table, my cursor is obviously within a paragraph of text. When I insert a table, the text in the table is automatically formatted in the style of that paragraph.
table and use a particular Table Style. I insert the table, and I apply the Table Style.
But the text in the table will now be in paragraph style Body Text. And, as we’ve seen, Table Styles don’t play nicely with paragraph styles.
The only way I can get the Table Style settings to work is to select the whole table, and apply style Normal.
Table Styles are difficult for developers to use
I create lots of Word templates for clients. I’ve long since automated a lot of that work, partly because it speeds up the process, and partly because I can replicate a template with accuracy that I can’t achieve if I do it by hand.
However, a Table Style cannot be entirely constructed in code. That is because some parts of a Table Style are not exposed in Word’s object model. For example, in the user interface, I can specify that the heading row in a Table Style is to repeat at the top of each page. I cannot do that when defining a Table Style in code.
Therefore, tools to create a Table Style or to “fix up” messy tables will not work completely.
What would I have to do to use a Table Style successfully?
So, to use a Table Style successfully I would have to:
modify the Table Style to use the same font as my document’s Normal style
if I need the Table Style to use 10pt text, I must ensure that the document’s Normal style is in 10pt text
each time I insert a table, I must apply the Table Style, then select the whole table and apply style Normal (or, I must apply style Normal, then insert the table and apply the Table Style)
if I want to stay sane, I must avoid applying a paragraph style to text in a table
I have to give up on the idea of creating Table Styles in code.
Since I’ve never had a document for which these rules are appropriate, I have given up on trying to use Table Styles to format my tables.
Is Word 2007 going to solve these problems?
I don’t know yet. Certainly there have been some changes. But as far as I know, Microsoft has not yet documented how Table Styles work. So the only way to find out is trial and error.
If you’re looking for more information about Table Styles, try the following:
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