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Can't Select Style Instances

Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2002 and 2003. If you are using a later version (Word 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Word, click here: Can't Select Style Instances.

Graham is having a problem with the Styles and Formatting task pane in Word 2003. In every document that he opens, Graham can see the styles in the Styles and Formatting task pane. If he clicks the down-arrow to the right of a style in the task pane, the top line is supposed to show the number of occurrences of that style in the document. However, for every style listed the line is always grayed out and says "Select All: Not Currently Used." Graham is wondering why Word won't show him the correct occurrences of styles, like it should, and allow him to select the option.

The answer lies in the configuration of Word. The feature that allows you to select all the instances of a style is controlled by a configuration setting in the program. Follow these steps if you are using Word 2002 or Word 2003:

  1. Choose Options from the Tools menu. Word displays the Options dialog box.
  2. Make sure the Edit tab is selected. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Edit tab of the Options dialog box.

  4. Make sure the Keep Track of Formatting check box is selected.
  5. Click OK.

The Keep Track of Formatting check box is selected, by default, in Word. It is not unusual for the option to get turned off by experienced users, however. The reason is that with the option turned on, Word keeps more rigorous track of variant styles, creating a new one each time you apply a paragraph style to a selection of individual characters instead of to an entire paragraph. (This has been discussed in other issues of WordTips.) What these users do, however, is turn the Keep Track of Formatting option back on when they want to use the Styles and Formatting task pane to select instances of defined styles, as Graham wants to do. When they are done working with the styles in that manner, they turn the option back off.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (419) applies to Microsoft Word 2002 and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Word (Word 2007 and later) here: Can't Select Style Instances.

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Comments for this tip:

JMJ    28 Nov 2015, 11:02
Thank You Allen!
As always, your advice is extremely useful :it solved an obnoxious problem I had for a while! The darn check has been removed by mistake (probably because its usefulness was far from being obvious...)
Kind regards,
Kelly B    21 May 2013, 17:16
Thank you for this tip! Works for Word 2010 too, with a few adjustments for changes in menus/tabs. This has been bugging me for so long -- I NEED my style stats.

You are a hero among writers!

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