Using Style Sets in Microsoft Word

When we start talking about Styles in Microsoft Word, we are separating the Structure from the Content. Content, of course, is all of that fascinating verbiage you’ve written. Structure controls how the document lays out, and what the content looks like.

If you picture any traditional newspaper, you know that there is a structure upon which the content is draped. For example, all headlines are a certain size and typeface, sub-headings also have a unique look, as do photo captions and content.

This same idea applies to your resume, report or contract; certain parts should always look like other certain parts.
I taught you how to apply Styles in a previous post Applying Styles in Microsoft Word. (Clever title, right?) In this post we’re going to examine what to do with your document once you’ve tagged everything with the Styles.

Changing the Style Set

Microsoft Word 2013 introduced the Design tab, a new place where you can find a special feature called Style Sets. Choosing a different Style Set will automatically change the appearance of any text that has a style applied to it.
As you can see in the video, hovering your mouse over any Style Set will preview the effect of clicking on the Style Set. (When you are looking at the Style Sets, don’t forget to use the More button to find all of your choices.)

To change the Style Set:

  1. Click the Design tab.
  2. Click the More button in the Document Formatting group.
  3. Hover your mouse on each Style Set to preview the proposed changes to your document.
  4. Click on the Style Set of your choice to finalize the selection.

Reverting to the Default Style Set

I encourage everyone to experiment, and it may be that after playing around for a little bit you are uncertain which Style Set you started out with. It’s easy to revert back to the default style set in Microsoft Word:

  1. Click the Design tab.
  2. Click the More button in the Document Formatting group.
  3. Click Reset to the Default Style Set at the bottom of the dropdown.

You can download the sample file in a zip archive from this website if you would like to play along.