See Word Styles alongside document paragraphs

Each paragraph style can be seen alongside the text in Microsoft Word but it’s very much an afterthought that could be much improved.

The Style Area Pane appears only in Draft and Outline view on the left-side.

Turn on Style Area Pane

Dig into Word for the Style Area Pane.  File | Options | Advanced | Display then add a measurement to ‘Style Area pane width in Draft and Outline views’.

Don’t worry about the exact width … just make sure it’s more than zero. 1″ or 3cm is enough to start with.

Change Style Area Width

The exact width setting doesn’t matter because once the Style Area Pane is visible, it’s adjustable by dragging a cursor. It can be resized left/right just like other Word panes such as Navigation and Formatting.

Style area pane could be better

The Style Area Pane can be a useful diagnostic tool but Microsoft hasn’t done a good job implementing it

It’s only visible in Draft and Outline view, arguably the two views least applicable to seeing style information. Print Layout view would benefit most from the Style Area pane

It’s a global setting (ie for all documents) when it’s really something users want to quickly turn on/off for specific documents and reasons.

Only paragraph styles are shown, not character styles applied within the paragraph.  In the first example, above, a Heading style is used in the Body Text but that doesn’t show up in the Style Area Pane.

Interesting ways to view a document in Word

Add a fast keyboard shortcut for any word style

Word: where are all the Style controls?

Putting Style buttons on Word’s Quick Access Toolbar

Word Style inheritance made clear and simple

Word Styles from the beginning

Word: Where are Styles saved?

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