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

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated September 14, 2019)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365


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 Microsoft 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

Finding Columns of a Certain Width

If you need to find out how many columns are set to be a specific width, you'll need a macro to help determine the info. ...

Discover More

Comment Dates Updated Inappropriately

Using the comment capabilities of Word is a common occurrence when developing a document. What do you do, however, if the ...

Discover More

Word's Native Measurement Unit

Word allows you to specify distances using a number of different measurement units. Figuring out how those measurement ...

Discover More

Create Custom Apps with VBA! Discover how to extend the capabilities of Office 2013 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Access) with VBA programming, using it for writing macros, automating Office applications, and creating custom applications. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2013 today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Checking Bilingual Documents

Do you routinely work with multiple languages in your documents? If so, you may appreciate the suggestions in this tip, ...

Discover More

How Word Applies Styles

Styles are a great boon for applying styles in a powerfully consistent manner. How Word applies styles, however, depends ...

Discover More

Moving All Headings Down One Level

Do you want to demote all the headings in your document by one level? There are some great tools built into the program ...

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 two minus 1?

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.