Time for a very quick article.
You know how to work with styles in Word.
You know how to save style sets, allowing you to call upon your favourite styles whenever you need them.
Now, learn how to delete them.
To delete a style in the current document
To delete an individual style in your current document, as long as it’s not one of the default styles (normal, headings 1–5 etc.), go to the Styles ribbon and click on that little down arrow in the bottom right-hand corner.
Click on Options and in the ‘Select styles to show’ dropdown menu choose ‘In current document’. The ‘Only in this document’ check box at the bottom should be automatically checked.
This will then show you all the styles in the document in the Styles box.
Say you want to delete the ‘Rubbish Style’ style … just hover over the style name and a dropdown menu arrow should appear. Click on the arrow and you’ll get some choices, including Delete.
A pop up box will then ask if you want to delete the style, and you just say yes.
Voila, it’s gone.
It’s no longer in your current document, and won’t annoy you any more.
But what if you really, really hate it and want it gone forever?
To permanently delete a style from a style set
If you’re using a style set, you can permanently delete an individual style in much the same way as deleting it from your document.
Load your style set.
Click on the little arrow in the bottom right-hand corner of the Styles ribbon section and select the Styles ‘in current document’ by clicking on Options (like you did before).
This time click on ‘New documents based on this template’ at the bottom of the box.
Then delete the style you don’t need any more.
When you come out of that style set, then decide to use it again, the style you deleted is still gone. It is no more. It is a deleted style.
You will notice though that you can’t delete the default Word styles. If you hover over the little box the delete choice is greyed out. It’s a good idea really, because you don’t want to get rid of the basic styles that you base all your other styles on.
If you want to revert to the default styles while working on a document, you should find a Default (black and white) style in your Style sets, or the default for the version of Word you are running.
Remember, if you save your styles using a style set name, you should be able to choose whichever style you have created or, by default, a new document will open up with a default style setting.
But what happens if you’ve managed to change the actual default style set?
You’ve probably managed it by changing, or modifying, the default style and clicking on the ‘New documents based on this template’. That changes all the documents from that moment on using the new default.
How on earth do you get your default styles back?
Well, the answer lies in the Normal.dot or Normal.dotm file. This is the default template style and it’s what you’ve managed to change.
Always be wary about renaming and deleting files, but in this case it seems that the answer is to delete (or rename) the Normal.dot file. If the file is deleted, on reboot, Word will create a new one as it realizes that it’s missing. BUT this will remove any other formatting choices that you have made, so this really is a last attempt to get back to normal.
As usual I hope this helps. I use Word 2007, but your version of Word should be similar.