How To Set Styles In Microsoft Word

How to set styles in microsoft word

Ok, so you know how much I love Word’s styles feature.

It’s fabulous.

Not only does it allow you to change the look of a document on a whim, it can save you a whole heap of time.

And when you’re working on a large, bitty project it can save you a massive amount of time, especially if your client changes their mind at the last minute.

Styles come into their own, though, when you’re working for a client that works in a certain way, prefers a certain setup and they come back to you with more projects.

I’ve already touched upon how to work with styles in Word, but now I’m going to show you a little trick.

Those of you who know how this works can look away now, go make a cup of tea and do something more exciting instead.

For those of you who are thinking ‘what? there’s a trick?’ settle down and prepare to learn something that will change how you work with Word forever (or it might just give you an ‘ahaa’ moment).

Please remember, I work with Word 2007 (because I like it), so if you use a different version there may be slight differences. Overall you should be able to follow the tutorial OK.

Styles screenshot2

First I’m going to create some styles.

Let’s say …

Heading 1 in Book Antiqua size 16, underlined and bold in a nice snazzy purple

Heading 2 in a nice Cooper Black size 14, bold in a nice 70s orange (I do like this one but never get to use it)

Title in Adobe Garamond Pro size 16, centred with a blue underline and written in a hideous moss green colour

And we’ll leave Normal, normal. Mine’s Calibri size 11 in black. Nice and easy to read with no bells and whistles.

How to set styles screenshot A

Now you know how to create styles, because I showed you, and it’s very, very quick. But let’s say that you are working for a client who loves his snazzy purple and 1970s orange bubble writing.

You’ve created all your styles and he likes them. Even better, let’s say he told you what he wanted and you know you’ll probably lose the file that gives his preferences. Or you’ll write them down in your notebook of favourite things and promptly forget where you put it. I’m still looking for a notebook from a makeup masterclass last year – I know it’s in a stack of notebooks somewhere that’s not work related, but can I find it? …

stack of papers and notebooks


The easiest thing is to save your style set in Word, so you can access it whenever you need. It can sit there, nestled in amongst all the other style sets until you need it.

Here’s what you do.

Note: in the Styles section of the ribbon you’ll see the styles you’ve created.

Screenshot (123)_LI

1. Create your styles

You’ve already done this, but just in case you forget – create the styles you want for your client’s document.

Once you open a new document, Word will revert to its ‘normal’ generic styles, or the styles you have made by modifying these standard ones.

These styles you have just created are for this document only.

But you want to save your new styles so you can use them, without creating them all over again …

2. Save your style set

Go over to the Change Styles button and click on it (it’ll be highlighted when you hover your cursor over it).

styles screenshot 5

NOT the little down arrow in the bottom right corner of the Styles ribbon section.

styles screenshot6

Now click on Style Set.

Screenshot (131)

You’ll see a lot of options but head to the bottom and click on Save as Quick Style Set.

Screenshot (132)

All you have to do now is give your style set a name that you will remember and that won’t have you scratching your head in a year’s time when the client comes back to you with volume 2 of their life’s work. Let’s just call this one 70s Dude Style. You’ll save it as a Word template so you don’t have to do anything else, just click Save.

styles screenshot9

3. Use your shiny new style

You’ve now saved your style. So let’s see if it works.

Open up a new document and you’ll notice that Word’s generic styles are peeking at you from the ribbon.

styles in word boring screenshot

But we don’t want those, we want 70s Dude Style.

Click on Change Styles.

styles screenshot10

Then click on Style Set and look what’s there right at the top of the list! Don’t get too excited, it’s only on the top because it starts with a number, if you create other styles they’ll appear in alphabetical order.

styles screenshot11

Click on 70s Dude Style and you’ll see that in the Style ribbon there are now bright purple and orange headings.

styles screenshot12

So now you can add your own styles to Word and call on them whenever you need. It really does save time – and can also cut out the monotony of styling documents for each new job.

Note: Styles are fabulous, but when working with a client, publisher or typesetter, keep it simple. You can easily go overboard and make styles for everything, which can be helpful, but can be a headache if the client, publisher or typesetter use their own styles. Always ask if there is a preferred method of working, or a preferred style set – and if there is, ask the client to send a blank document, which uses their preferred style, then save that to your style sets instead.

10 Comments on “How To Set Styles In Microsoft Word

  1. What I would love to know is how to delete a style if you don’t need it any more and/or how to revert to all the default styles. Thanks.

  2. Pingback: How to Delete Styles in Microsoft Word | Northern Editorial

  3. Thanks for really good clear blog, Sara.
    However, in Word 2016, I’ve been hunting around for a Change Styles button to be able to save it as a style set. Either it doesn’t exist, or I’m being a bit blind, or one of your readers knows a way around this!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: