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: Duplicating Styles without Dependency.

Duplicating Styles without Dependency

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated May 30, 2015)

When you create a new style in Word, that style is typically based on an existing style. If you display the Modify Style dialog box, you can see that there is an option (Style Based On drop-down list) that allows the current style to inherit the characteristics of a style on which it is based.

If you create a new style using Word's inherent "style by example" capability, the new style is automatically based on the old style in the text. You can see this if you format a paragraph with the Normal style, and then apply some explicit formatting to it. Then, with the insertion point still in that paragraph, create a new style. (Click the down-arrow at the bottom-right corner of the style gallery on the Home tab of the ribbon and then choose Save Selection as a New Quick Style.) If you then display the Modify Style dialog box for this new style, you'll see that the Style Based On drop-down is set to Normal, the original style for the paragraph.

So how do you go about duplicating a style without the Style Based On being set to any other style? There seems to be no way to do this in Word. Some WordTips subscribers suggested using the Organizer to create the style, in this manner:

  1. Start with two documents—your original document and a new, blank document. You'll need to save the new document to disk so it can be accessed by the Organizer.
  2. In your original document, create the two styles—your original style and a new one that is based on that style.
  3. Use the Organizer to copy the two styles from the original document to the new, blank document.
  4. In the new, blank document, rename both styles.
  5. Use the Organizer to copy the second style back to the original document.

The rationale is that this copied style will no longer be based on any existing style, since the original style was not copied back with it, and there is no style in the original document that bears the new name of the original style. The only problem is that when the Organizer copies the style back to the original document, it doesn't set the Style Based On drop-down to (no style), it sets it instead to Normal. In other words, you are still in the same predicament, and you still need to display the Style Based On drop-down to manually change to (no style).

The bottom line is that, short of a macro, the easiest solution is to duplicate the style using the "style by example" capability and then set the Style Based On drop-down for the style to (no style). Displaying the Modify Style dialog box may be tiresome, but there seems to be no other way around it.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (8102) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Duplicating Styles without Dependency.

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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