Applying and Modifying Styles

Applying styles in Word is useful when you want Word documents to have a more professional look. Modifying Word styles is also possible.

Introduction

A style is a predefined combination of font style, color, and size that can be applied to any text in your document. Styles can help your documents achieve a more professional look and feel. You can also use styles to quickly change several things in your document at the same time.

Optional: Download our practice document.

Watch the video below to learn more about using styles in Word.

To apply a style:

  1. Select the text you want to format, or place your cursor at the beginning of the line.
    placing the cursor at the beginning of a line of text
  2. In the Styles group on the Home tab, click the More drop-down arrow.
    clicking the More button in the Styles group
  3. Select the desired style from the drop-down menu.
    applying the Title style
  4. The text will appear in the selected style.

    the Title style applied to a line of text

To apply a style set:

Style sets include a combination of title, heading, and paragraph styles. Style sets allow you to format all elements in your document at once instead of modifying each element separately.

  1. From the Design tab, click the More drop-down arrow in the Document Formatting group.
    clicking the More button in the Document Formatting group
  2. Choose the desired style set from the drop-down menu.
    choosing a different style set
  3. The selected style set will be applied to your entire document.
    the new style set applied to the entire document

To modify a style:

  1. Locate and right-click the style you want to change in the Styles group, then select Modify from the drop-down menu.
    selecting Modify to adjust the Title style
  2. A dialog box will appear. Make the desired formatting changes, such as font style, size, and color. If you want, you can also change the name of the style. Click OK to save your changes.
    modifying the Title style
  3. The style will be modified.
    the modified title style

When you modify a style, you're changing every instance of that style in the document. In the example below, we've modified the Normal style to use a larger font size. Because both paragraphs use the Normal style, they've been updated automatically to use the new size.

modifying the normal style

To create a new style:

  1. Click the arrow in the bottom-right corner of the Styles group.
    clicking the arrow in the bottom-right corner of the Styles group
  2. The Styles task pane will appear. Select the New Style button at the bottom of the task pane.
    clicking the New Style button
  3. A dialog box will appear. Enter a name for the style, choose the desired text formatting, then click OK.
    creating the new style
  4. The new style will be applied to the currently selected text. It will also appear in the Styles group.
    the new style applied to the document

You can also use styles to create a table of contents for your document. To learn how, review our article on How to Create a Table of Contents in Microsoft Word.

Challenge!

  1. Open our practice document. If you already downloaded our practice document, be sure to download a fresh copy by clicking the link again.
  2. On page 1, select the first line of text Shelbyfield Animal Rescue and change the style to Title.
  3. Select the second line that says August Volunteer Update and change the style to Heading 1.
  4. Select the third line that says A Message From Your Director and change the style to Heading 2.
  5. In the Design tab, change the style set to Casual.
  6. Modify the Normal style so the font is Cambria and the font size is 14 pt.
  7. When you're finished, the first page of your document should look like this:

    Applying Styles Challenge

  8. Optional: Modify the Heading 3 style any way you want. You can change the font, font size, color, and more. This heading appears throughout the document, so try to choose formatting that complements the body text.