Removing Unused Styles

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated May 3, 2014)

When you work with a document for a long time, or when you inherit a document from someone else, it is very possible that it contains styles that are no longer in use. You may want to get rid of these styles, but this can be dangerous to the format of your document if you start deleting them without knowing that they really are not in use.

This is where a macro comes in handy. It can quickly search through a document to see if a particular style is used anywhere. If it isn't, then the style can be easily deleted. The following macro, DeleteUnusedStyles, does just that.

Sub DeleteUnusedStyles()
    Dim oStyle As Style

    For Each oStyle In ActiveDocument.Styles
        'Only check out non-built-in styles
        If oStyle.BuiltIn = False Then
            With ActiveDocument.Content.Find
                .Style = oStyle.NameLocal
                .Execute FindText:="", Format:=True
                If .Found = False Then oStyle.Delete
            End With
        End If
    Next oStyle
End Sub

Note that the macro ignores a style if it is a built-in style. This is because deleting a built-in style doesn't really delete it, but only resets that style to its original, default condition. In fact, Word doesn't allow built-in styles to be deleted from a document. Even if the built-in style is no longer used, but was once used in the document, it will still show up in the styles drop-down list. If this bothers you, there are additional steps you can take to "delete" the listing of these built-in styles. These steps can be rather involved, and are best described in Knowledge Base article 193536:

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1337) 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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