Using Hidden Styles

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated May 18, 2019)


Philip is revising a long styles list in a template and came across the Hide Until Used feature in the Recommend tab of the Manage Styles dialog box. If he marks a style as hidden, it doesn't show up in the styles list, so how can it be used?

Using styles within a template is a great tool for creating consistent formatting within one or more documents. The styles list can become long, however, and you might not need to use every style in every document. The Hide Until Used option is located in the Recommend tab in the Manage Styles dialog box that is in the Styles Window (Ctrl+Alt+Shift+S). Hide Until Used allows you to hide any style that is not being used at the current time. This option makes it easier to manage the formatting of a project without deleting a style that will be used in a future document.

If you hide a style and later discover that you need to use it, just go back to the Style Pane Options dialog box, select the style that you want to use and click on Show.

To manage your styles list:

  1. Press Ctrl+Alt+Shift+S. Word displays the Styles task pane.
  2. Click the Manage Styles button (at bottom of Styles task pane). (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Manage Styles tool at bottom of the Styles Task Pane.

  4. Word displays the Manage Styles dialog box. Select the Recommend tab. (See Figure 2.)
  5. Figure 2. The Recommend tab of the Manage Styles dialog box.

  6. Select the style that you are not using.
  7. Click on Hide Until Used. The style remains on the list with the addition of Hide Until Used at the end of the name.
  8. Click OK.

Word now displays the styles list in the Styles task pane according to your selections. If you want to later see the style you just hid (so that you really can use it), all you need to do is follow these steps:

  1. Press Ctrl+Alt+Shift+S to display the Styles task pane.
  2. Click the Options link at the bottom of the Styles task pane. Word displays the Style Pane Options dialog box. (See Figure 3.)
  3. Figure 3. The Style Pane Options dialog box.

  4. Using the Select Styles to Show drop-down list, choose All Styles.
  5. Click OK.

The styles you previously marked as Hide Until Used now show up in the Styles task pane and can be applied in your document, as desired. Once the style is used in the document, even if you go back and change what is shown in the task pane, the Hide Until Used style, since it is now used, will appear.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (8020) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 365.

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. ...


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What is five minus 0?

2018-11-05 07:33:38

Rob West

Worked it out - the little button with an A ticked is the manage styles button! Shame the programme can't tell you this in words when you hover over it - the tick isn't a very obvious symbol to use when you want to change something.

2018-11-05 06:38:30

Rob West

I don't get the same manage styles box illustrated here - just some cut-down version without all the options. The keyboard short cut takes me to an HP computer systems dialogue - v. worrying. The only way to see the styles I'm using is to click all and I get dozens of built in styles including the one I want, which seems to be hidden, and is pretty unmanageable. I assume this is why it won't show in the option to show only styles in this document or styles in use.
How do we fix this?

2018-11-05 05:51:06

David in Mississippi

This "Using Hidden Styles" tip is out of date and does not apply to Word 2016 in Office 365. There is no "Manage Styles" dialog box.

2018-02-10 11:01:58


Sorry, I solved it. I had to use select built-in styles to uhide.

2018-02-10 10:59:32


i'm using a template my university built and they used hidden styles but the options to unhide remain grayed when I choose the style under the recommended tab. any ideas?

2017-08-02 13:25:17


in outlook, I've "unhidden" the Salutation style in the default Styles list. However, when ever I use a Quick Step on an e-mail the Salutation style reverts back to hidden. I can still access and apply the style, but it no longer shows up in the Style Gallery on the ribbon or in the floating format bar style gallery.
Any ideas on what causes this?

2016-11-30 11:52:04

Jim Daley

Allen: do you do hourly consulting? I have a Word 2010 doc produced from a standard outline template I use but the numbering has been messed up (i.e. despite indicating that I want Heading 2 to begin a new # list (vs. "continue from previous list") it is not working correctly. My original template does work properly. There is over 40 pages in my "corrupted" document so I'd like to have the formatting fixed by someone rather than re-entering into a clean template. Pls LMK - jim 415-381-1320, thank you

2016-08-12 11:46:31

Jennifer Willard

I tired the suggestions to "unhide" a built in Heading 2 and Heading. Howeveer, nothing is working. Is there another method or diagnosis to get my Headings 2 and 3 to show up? I don't want to hide them.

2016-05-08 09:36:57

Elaine Rutherford

Excellent, used it in a form field text control so that the dreaded, 'click or tap here to enter text' does not appear when the field is left blank when printing off a form. Microsoft should add a checkbox in properties giving you to option to make it visible or not.

2015-10-06 01:41:30

Brian Southwell

I've never hidden a style so I am trying to add a hidden style to the available list. I have done everything that this page recommends and the 'hide until used' style that I want to use has NEVER showed up. I've tried it multiple times.

2014-08-15 01:11:35


thank but not understandable..

2014-05-23 23:35:53

Wesley Davis

My problem is that I can't get the "Show next heading when previous level is used" to work right. All Heading styles are shown even before any are used. I think that was because I modified some of them in the .dot file because I couldn't stand the MS defaults.

2013-11-21 15:46:50

Chris Warton

I've done everything suggested above - and the styles I want hidden until used get the '(Hide Until Used' after their name.

But they don't become grey - they are still in black text in the dialog box, and when I 'OK' the dialog box, they are still in the Style list.

What causes this problem?

2013-10-15 16:40:24

Darryl Gittins

Thanks for this. Took me ages to figure it out until I found your excellent, clearly written steps!

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