Word – types of Styles available

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Originally, Word only had paragraph styles.  Styles could only be applied to an entire paragraph.  Any changes to an individual word or phrase had to be done individually.

Character Styles

More recently, we got Character Styles.  Now you can have a style that can apply to any group of letters or words in a paragraph.  For example, a Style called ‘Names’ can ensure that all names in a document are consistently formatted say, in bold or italic, upper case etc.

Linked Styles

Linked (paragraph and character) style is a (relatively) new and special type of style.  It can act as either a paragraph style or a character style depending on how you use it.

Here’s the Heading 1 style used as both a paragraph style in heading and as a character style within the paragraph.

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Before Linked Styles, users needed to maintain two styles – a paragraph version (eg ‘Heading 3’) and a character style (eg ‘Heading 3 char’).

As we’ve noted before, ‘Linked’ isn’t the best choice of terms for this type of style. Most styles are already ‘linked’ to others through style inheritance.  ‘Merged’ or ‘Combined’ might have been clearer to most people – but we’re stuck with ‘Linked’.


There are now other Styles – List and Table let you group settings for these Word elements under a single name.

Table Style

All the Table design settings can be grouped into a Table Style.  The in-built Table Styles are on the Table | Design tab in the Table Styles gallery.

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Pull-down the large Table Styles gallery, at the bottom there are style options. Or right-click on a style in the gallery to see more choices.

See 8 ways to improve on Word’s Table Styles

List Style

It’s similar for multi-level lists. There’s a gallery of in-built or custom list styles.

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A list style can define the look of each level of a list as well as overall settings.

Check out

What is a Style in Word, Excel or Outlook?

Word: get a list of styles in a document

Word Styles from the beginning

Word: where are all the Style controls?

Word Style inheritance made clear and simple

Styles in Excel

OneNote 2010 Heading styles

Style Separators in Word

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