Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. 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: Can't Select Style Instances.

Can't Select Style Instances

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 16, 2016)

Graham is having a problem with the Styles and Formatting task pane. In every document that he opens, Graham can see the styles in the Styles and Formatting task pane. If he clicks the down-arrow to the right of a style in the task pane, the top line is supposed to show the number of occurrences of that style in the document. However, for every style listed the line is always grayed out and says "Select All: Not Currently Used." Graham is wondering why Word won't show him the correct occurrences of styles like it should, nor allow him to select the option.

The answer lies in the configuration of Word. The feature that allows you to select all the instances of a style is controlled by a configuration setting in the program. Follow these steps:

  1. Display the Word Options dialog box. (In Word 2007 click the Office button and then click Word Options. In Word 2010 and later versions, display the File tab of the ribbon and then click Options.)
  2. Click the Advanced option at the left of the dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Advanced option of the Word Options dialog box.

  4. In the Editing Options group, make sure the Keep Track of Formatting check box is selected.
  5. Click OK.

The Keep Track of Formatting check box is selected by default in Word. However, it is not unusual for the option to get turned off by experienced users. With the option turned on, Word keeps more rigorous track of variant styles, creating a new one each time you apply a paragraph style to a selection of individual characters instead of to an entire paragraph. (This has been discussed in other issues of WordTips.) What these users often do is turn the Keep Track of Formatting option back on when they want to use the Styles and Formatting task pane to select instances of defined styles, as Graham wants to do. When they are done working with the styles in that manner, they turn the option off again.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (10972) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Can't Select Style Instances.

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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