Avoid Using the Normal Style

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated May 14, 2022)
This tip applies to Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003


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If you use styles extensively in your Word documents, you should consider not using the Normal style. This is a predefined Word style which is used as the default for paragraphs. If you use defined styles for all your paragraphs, you can then search for any paragraphs defined with Normal. These are ones that have not been formatted properly and which deserve your attention. When there are no more Normal paragraphs in your document, you know that your formatting job is complete.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (469) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003.

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. ...

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What is two more than 2?

2022-05-15 05:44:18

Ken

Normal styles for body text are fine if the document just contains boiler plate text, for example a novel. Even then there will be chapter headings, first line non-indenting of the paragraph following a heading and italicised quotation paragraphs.

Some people create large documents with all Normal paragraph styles then proceed to modify individual paragraphs by for example making text bold and larger for a heading, or indent some paragraphs to create sub paragraphs. They then add manual paragraph numbering and blank lines where extra space is required.

Such documents are an editor’s nightmare particularly when the document is a 500 page thesis or research paper.

I follow these rules:
1. Documents up to about three pages - just use Normal for everything
2. Documents between four and ten pages - use a few styles other than Normal depending on the document complexity
3. Documents larger than ten pages must use non-Normal styles


2022-05-14 09:46:16

Daniel

Sorry, this doesn't make sense to me.

I have specifically defined the 'Normal' style to be exactly how I want my 'body text' paragraphs to be (justified, Times New Roman 12 pt, 6-point paragraph spacing, etc), so I *want* to use Normal for anything that's not 'special' (headings, captions, etc).

Why shouldn't I??


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