Revising Styles in Microsoft Word

Styles are the way to strong-arm any document into shape quickly, efficiently and easily. You’ve been using them all along whether you know it or not because every Microsoft Word document starts off using the Normal style as its default. If you don’t know how to apply a style to a paragraph or a piece of text, be certain you check out my previous post Applying Styles to Text in Microsoft Word and Using Styles Sets in Microsoft Word

Now that you’ve gotten styles applied to your text, the next question invariably is how do I change what they look like. The way you change all of your styles universally is to change the Style Set, which I covered in a previous post. In today’s post I want to look at different ways you can change the appearance of individual styles.

Update [style] to Match Selection

The easiest way to change all styles in a document is to change the appearance of one instance of the style, and then tell the computer to apply those definitions to all instances of the style.

  1. Select one instance of a style.
  2. Make your changes to this instance.
  3. Right-click the name of the Style on the Home tab in the Styles group.
  4. Choose Update [style] to Match Selection from the dropdown menu. Please note that Microsoft Word will fill-in the name of the style you are changing in the menu. So, for example, when you right-click on Heading 1 the menu choice will say Update Heading 1 to Match Selection.
  5. Observe how all other instances of the style were changed to match.

Modify a Style Definition

If you already know exactly what you want to change about your Style, it can be easier to jump straight to the Modify dialog box and change everything at once. In the next example we’ll change the Normal style by changing the font and the paragraph spacing.

  1. Right-click a Style on the Home tab in the Styles group.
  2. Choose Modify from the dropdown menu.
  3. Make simple changes to the style in the Modify Style dialog box.
  4. Use the Format button in the bottom right of the Modify Style dialog box to access more in-depth style definitions.
  5. Click OK to exit the Modify Style dialog box.
  6. Observe how all instances of the style were changed simultaneously.

If you would like to play around with the document I use in the video, you can download the sample file