Developing Style Families

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated December 26, 2015)

When creating formatting styles in Word, you can base one style on another style. This concept has a great application: you can develop style families. To implement this, you should develop a few base styles. For instance, you may have a base style for regular text, one for numbered lists, and one for headings. (In fact, you can use Word's predefined styles for these base styles—except for the Normal style.) Once the base styles are defined, you can base other styles on the base styles. That way, if you need to make a change that affects an entire style family, you can change the base style and all the styles based upon it will change as well.

When you name your styles (both the base styles and all the other styles based upon them) you may want to name the styles so the families are grouped together. One way of doing this is to start each style belonging to the same family with the same character or two. For example, each style in your regular text family could start with the characters RT, each of them in your headings family could start with HD, and so on. In this way, all of the related styles will be displayed together in any style list. You may need to rename the styles you have defined in order to implement this tip.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1033) 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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