How to edit Styles in Microsoft Word

Word is a word processing application developed by Microsoft, within the Office suite.

Styles are predefined text formats that can be used as default normal text, heading, etc.

When you are using Word, and especially when you are using a template or need to make a big update on a legacy file, sometimes we find that the styles within the files are not correctly set up and working with it it can be a nightmare.

This post gives some hints about how to configure styles in Word.

The post applies to Microsoft 365, Word version 2301. I hope that instructions are similar in other versions.

Typical Style Errors that can be found in Word

Some of the typical errors that are found in Word documents:

  • Headings are text with a particular format, instead using the corresponding style
  • Heading must be added and numbered manually, instead of been numbered automatically
  • “Normal” text appear in the navigation pane as a heading
  • Headings are not marked as such, and they appear at the bottom of the page instead of at the beginning of the next page
  • Bullets do not hold the same space between them as in a default documents

This post tries to propose a solution to each of them.

Hints about how to work with Styles in Word

This section provides some hints about working with styles in Word.

How to add heading Sublevels

As default, each time we add a heading level for the first time in the document, the immediate lower level is displayed automatically.

However, sometimes the heading sublevels are not shown by default, especially when working with legacy document.

To activate the display of sublevels, go to Home > Styles. In the first dialog, click “Options” button. In the pen dialog, check “Show next heading when previous level is used” and click “OK” button.

You can also open the first dialog (Styles dialog) by pressing Alt + Ctrl + Shift + S opens the “Styles” dialog.

How to check which Style is applying to a Text

Select the text.

Press Alt + Shift + S to open the “Apply Styles” dialog.

How to edit Styles in the Table of Contents

Rows within the table of contents (TOC) have also styles. The styles are defined as “TOC X”, where X is the heading level that is making reference.

To edit the style within the table of contents, modify the corresponding TOC X style.

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External References

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