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

Automatically Updating Styles

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated September 14, 2019)

1

If you have spent much time working with styles, you know that Word includes a feature that allows for styles to be automatically updated based on explicit changes to a paragraph using that style within your document. (The Automatically Update check box in the Modify Style or Define Style dialog boxes controls this feature.)

There are times when you may want to make a change to a paragraph, and you don't want the change to automatically update the style used in the paragraph. If you find yourself in this situation, you don't have to go into the Modify Style dialog box and turn it off. Rather, you can just use Ctrl+Z (undo).

The reason this works is that a change to a style that uses the Automatically Update setting is actually a two-step process. (These steps happen together, so it appears to be one step to the user.) The first thing that occurs is the selected paragraph is changed. The second thing that occurs is the change is propagated to all other paragraphs of the same style. When you press Ctrl+Z, you undo step 2 (the propagation), without undoing the change to the selected paragraph.

Knowing this, you never have to turn off Automatically Update; you simply "roll back" the update step when you don't want it to occur.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (11879) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Automatically Updating 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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Month for the Nth Sunday

Doing math with dates is quite easy in Excel. As this tip illustrates, this fact makes it easy to figure out the Nth ...

Discover More

Slowing Down Mouse Selection

Ever tried to select a range of cells using the mouse, only to have the cells scroll by so quickly you can't make the ...

Discover More

Combining Word Documents

At some point you may want to insert one Word document inside another Word document. An easy way to do this is to use the ...

Discover More

The First and Last Word on Word! Bestselling For Dummies author Dan Gookin puts his usual fun and friendly candor back to work to show you how to navigate Word 2013. Spend more time working and less time trying to figure it all out! Check out Word 2013 For Dummies today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

One Change Affects Everything

Have you ever made one formatting change in your document, only to see that change applied to all the paragraphs in the ...

Discover More

Reapplying Styles Seamlessly

Styles are a very powerful feature in Word, as they allow you to consistently apply complex formatting throughout a ...

Discover More

Turning Off a Dictionary for a Style

There may be some paragraphs in a document that you don't want Word to spell- or grammar-check. You can 'turn off' the ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is one more than 7?

2019-11-01 16:38:10

Word Up

"There are times when you may want to make a change to a paragraph, and you don't want the change to automatically update the style used in the paragraph."
- This is virtually all the time for me.

"Knowing this, you never have to turn off Automatically Update; you simply "roll back" the update step when you don't want it to occur."
- Rolling back the update step is an extra step that I have to perform very, very often. And one missed time completely screws up the formatting of my very large documenting, costing tons of time to fix.
- I'm trying to stop the automatic updates from happening, but your description of how to do this is less than helpful.


This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the ribbon interface (Word 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Videos
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.