How to Define Formatting Styles in Word 2008 for Mac - dummies

How to Define Formatting Styles in Word 2008 for Mac

By Bob LeVitus

Word 2008 for Mac’s styles let you apply formatting to selected text quickly and easily. You don’t have to remember the font, points, and spacing each time. You can create a style that captures those formatting attributes for you. To assign your style to a paragraph, you put the insertion point anywhere within the appropriate paragraph and choose the style name from the list of styles in the Formatting Palette’s Style panel.

The easy way to define a style is to format a paragraph exactly the way you want the style to appear. When you’re satisfied with the way the paragraph looks, select it and then choose View→Formatting Palette. Now, disclose the Styles panel and click the New Style button. You choose the details in the New Style dialog and then click OK.


Following are the items in the New Style dialog:

  • Name: Type a name for your newly created style here.

  • Style Type: Your choices are Paragraph, Character, Table, or List. Choose whichever is appropriate for the style you’re creating.

  • Style Based On: You don’t have to worry about this one when you create a new style by example.

  • Style for Following Paragraph: Applies style to the next paragraph. If you’re creating a paragraph that follows a chapter title, for example, you might want it to be styled as body text with the Normal style. You select Normal from this menu, and from that point on, whenever you type Return after a paragraph formatted in the Chapter Title style, the next paragraph you type will automatically be formatted as Normal.

    If you don’t make a selection from this menu, the next paragraph will be the same as the current one. In other words, it would be formatted with the Chapter Title style instead of Normal (body text). If you know that a certain paragraph style is always followed by a different paragraph style (such as a Chapter Title, which is always followed by Normal), specifying it here will save you time and effort later.

  • Formatting: The formatting options describe the style being used. If you’ve formatted your example text just the way you want it to appear, you don’t have to make any adjustments here.

    Note that if you do make changes to the any of the items in the Formatting section, those changes are reflected immediately in the example text shown in the white box below the Formatting items.

  • Add to Template: Check this box if you want this style to be available in future documents. It will be added to whichever template is used by this document, which is the Normal template by default.

  • Automatically Update: Check this box if you want the Chapter Title style to update itself automatically if you change it. In other words, if you check this box and later decide that you want your chapter titles to appear in the Courier font instead of Helvetica, if you change the font of any paragraph with the Chapter Title style, the style will be changed so that all paragraphs assigned the Chapter Title style will appear in Courier instead of Helvetica.

If you use styles all the time, you might want to keep the Formatting toolbar open all the time. To do so, choose View→Toolbars→Formatting. The toolbar that appears offers the same list of styles as the Formatting Palette’s Style panel.