Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021. 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: Applying Styles.

Applying Styles

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated August 13, 2022)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021


Styles do you no good if you cannot apply them to your text. You apply styles in three ways.

The first way depends on your use of the ribbon. On the Home tab of the ribbon you see the Styles group. It contains a series of styles that are known as a Style Set. You can click any of these styles and that style is applied to whatever text is selected in your document. (You can also hover the mouse pointer over any of these styles and the text in the document momentarily changes to reflect the style over which you are hovering. This allows you to see what a style looks like before actually applying it by clicking.)

The second method of applying styles uses the Styles task pane. You can follow these steps to apply a style:

  1. Select the portion of your document you want to format. For instance, position the insertion point in the paragraph to which you want to apply a paragraph style, or select the characters to which you want to apply a character style.
  2. Click the small down-pointing arrow icon at the lower-right corner of the Styles group on the Home tab of the ribbon. Word displays the Styles task pane.
  3. In the list of styles displayed, click the name of the style you want to apply.

The third method assumes that you have assigned your styles to specific shortcut keys. If you have, just select what you want to format and then use the shortcut key.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (9772) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Applying Styles.

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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