Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365. 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: Intelligently Starting a New Paragraph.

Intelligently Starting a New Paragraph

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated November 23, 2019)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365


If you use styles in your documents, there is a very powerful feature you can use. The Next Style feature is defined when you set up a style and indicate what Word should use as the style following this one.

For instance, let's assume you have two styles defined as: Figure and Caption. The Figure style is used for figures in your document and it is always followed by the Caption style, which is used for the figure caption. You can set the Next Style for the Figure style so that when you press Enter, Word automatically makes the next paragraph a Caption style.

  1. Display the Home tab of the ribbon and then click the small icon at the bottom-right of the Styles group. Word displays the Styles task pane.
  2. In the list of styles shown, hover the mouse pointer over the name of the style you want to change. A drop-down arrow should appear at the right side of the style name.
  3. Click the drop-down arrow and choose Modify. Word displays the Modify Style dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Modify Style dialog box.

  5. In the Style For Following Paragraph drop-down list, select an existing style that you want to follow this style. In the above example, this would be the Caption style.
  6. Click on OK.
  7. When you are done, close the Styles task pane if desired.

When modifying a style, you may want to select the radio button called New Documents Based On This Template. This saves the changes you are making in the template file for use in other documents.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (7724) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Intelligently Starting a New Paragraph.

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

Understanding the If ... End If Structure

One of the most basic of programming structures is the conditional structure: If ... End If. This tip explains how this ...

Discover More

Getting Rid of Section Breaks, but Not Section Formatting

Word allows you to change the character of how your pages are designed by using multiple sections in a document. If you ...

Discover More

Word 2010 Graphics (Table of Contents)

One way to enhance your documents is with Word's powerful graphics capabilities. Discover how to best utilize graphics ...

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)

Making Sure Styles Do Not Update Automatically

One of the features of Word that can cause some problems is one that allows styles to be automatically updated based upon ...

Discover More

Printing Style Sheets

Want to see what styles are defined in your document? Let Word print out a simplistic style sheet for you.

Discover More

Stopping Styles from Changing with Multiple Users

Using styles in your documents can be very helpful when it comes to consistency and ease of formatting. When others open ...

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}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. 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 six less than 9?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


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.

Videos
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.