Copywriter, technical writer, translator (FR>EN, ES>EN, IT>EN), journalist

Which Word styles should you use?

Styles, while being huge timesavers in Microsoft Word (and other word processors) can take a little while to learn. So I’ve devoted this blog post to explaining the styles you’re most likely to find useful. In other words, as a beginning style user, you can safely ignore other styles for now.

Most people can get by with 15 to 20 styles. Complex documents (textbooks, computer manuals) might require 30 or so. Here’s a list of some of the most common styles and their uses. Try them out. You might be surprised how easy they are to figure out and apply.

  • Caption (above or below graphics)
  • Footer (bottom of each page)
  • Header (top of each page)
  • Heading 1 (chapters)
  • Heading 2 (main chapter topics)
  • Heading 3 (subtopics)
  • Hyperlink
  • List Bullet
  • List Continue (if the list item needs a second paragraph, use this style to keep the second paragraph indented without using either a bullet or number)
  • List Number (good for both sequential lists and long lists where you need to keep track of individual items)
  • Normal (what 90 percent of long documents consist of. You can often use this style for in-line graphics)
  • Table Text (text in a table, often having smaller margins)
  • Title (of document)
  • Subtitle (under title on cover page)
  • Text Box (often different colour if the text box is shaded, plus with smaller margins)
  • TOC1 (first-level headings in a table of contents)
  • TOC2 (second-level headings in a table of contents)
  • TOC3 (third-level headings in a table of contents)

How you can use this tip

Open a document you’re currently working on and apply styles to different parts of text.

There are two types of styles: paragraph and character. Stick to paragraph styles for now. Most of your style usage will likely be applied to paragraphs, and paragraph styles help keep your content looking consistent.

1 Comment
  1. Thanks Luigi… this is particularly helpful!