Understanding Style Sets

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated May 16, 2015)

Jan noted that when she displays the Home tab of the ribbon, clicks Change Styles, and then looks at the Style Sets available, none of them have a check mark next to them. She wonders how the Style Sets work and how she can tell Style Set a document is using.

The short answer is that you cannot tell. According to Microsoft sources, Style Sets are nothing but a way to determine what groups of styles are shown in the Styles gallery in the Home tab of the ribbon. Style Sets are not stored with a document, as are individual styles. They are not stored in groups, as you can store styles in a template.

This can be easily shown. You can open a new document, add a few paragraphs, select the Formal Style Set (click the Change Styles tool), apply some formatting, save the document, and then exit Word. When you come back into the program and load the document, the Formal Style Set is no longer chosen; there is no check mark next to it in the list of Style Sets. This is because the Style Set is not saved with the document.

Word does allow you to create custom Style Sets by modifying existing Style Sets and then saving your modifications under a new name. Since the Style Set you create is not saved with a document, that custom Style Set will not be available as an option if you move the document to a different computer. Again, it is only for convenience in specifying what styles should appear in the Styles gallery on a single computer.

If you want to take advantage of styles fully, use the Styles task pane and save your custom styles in a template that can be moved to other computer systems, if desired.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (9689) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, and 2013.

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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