Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, and 2013. If you are using an earlier version (Word 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Word, click here: Preserving Style Formatting when Combining Documents.

Preserving Style Formatting when Combining Documents

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 4, 2014)

3

When you merge two documents by inserting one document into another document, the second document is placed within the first document and most formatting options within the first document override the formatting in what used to be the second document. If you think about it, this makes sense—after all, you are adding to the first document. It makes sense, for instance, that the margins remain the same for the document, and not as they were for the second document.

It is a similar story with styles—if both documents use styles with the same names, then inserting the second document in the first causes Word to use the style attributes of the first document, ignoring those of the second. For instance, if the first document has the Normal style defined to be 12-pt. type, and the second document has the Normal style defined to be 10-pt. type, then inserting the second document in the first will cause all the Normal-formatted paragraphs from the second document to adopt the characteristics of the Normal style in the first document. The result is that all the inserted text is now 12-pt. type.

The only way to prevent styles in the second document from adapting to the style formatting in the first document is to make sure that the second document doesn't use any of the same style names as those that exist in the first document. For instance, you could go through the second document (before the merge) and rename the styles used in the document. Make sure that you use names that you know do not exist in the first document. Then, when you do the merge, Word adds the new, renamed styles to the first document. It does this automatically because it recognizes that the styles don't exist in the first document.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (6021) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Preserving Style Formatting when Combining Documents.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Avoiding the Update Links Message

Word allows you to establish links from one document to another. When you open a document containing these links, you may be ...

Discover More

Wrapping Text Around a Text Box or Frame

Text boxes and frames can be used for all sorts of information and objects in a document. You can wrap text around the text ...

Discover More

Backing Up Building Blocks

Got a lot of Building Blocks defined in Word? You can back them up rather easily, but first you need to figure out where they ...

Discover More

Learning Made Easy! Quickly teach yourself how to format, publish, and share your content using Word 2013. With Step by Step, you set the pace, building and practicing the skills you need, just when you need them! Check out Microsoft Word 2013 Step by Step today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Viewing Your Custom Styles

If you develop a set of preferred styles, you may want to use those styles with a document you receive from someone else. ...

Discover More

Numbering on New Paragraph Doesn't Work as Expected

The Numbering feature in Word can be a bit tricky to navigate. Sometimes it works as it should, and other times it seems to ...

Discover More

Renaming a Style

Styles are invaluable when it comes to applying consistent formatting in and across documents. If you need to rename a style ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is one less than 4?

2014-01-06 16:20:16

Christine


Another method is to bookmark each document i.e. making the first document "maindoc" and the second document "seconddoc" etc - this way it keeps the formatting separate.


2014-01-06 12:39:58

Simao Campos

Another method is to insert the 2nd document as a sub-document and break the link. It normally asks for renaming the existing styles.


2014-01-04 08:05:52

Jim

In the Mac version of Word 2011, the style panel allows the use of "Show Styles Guides" (a check box at the bottom of the panel. I love this feature, especially when working with multiple documents. I can not find this feature in Word 2010 - Word 2013. Is it there and I just can't find it?

Jim


This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the ribbon interface (Word 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.