Style Priorities in Word’s Style Gallery

Office for Mere Mortals helps people around the world get more from Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook. Delivered once a week. free.


Changing the order of styles in Word’s Style Gallery is possible but buried way down inside the message boxes.

A standard Word Style Gallery looks like this.

style priorities in words style gallery microsoft word 25559 - Style Priorities in Word's Style Gallery

Right-clicking on a style gives some options, including Remove from Style Gallery.

Moving the styles into another order is more complicated. You’d think modern Word would let you ‘drag and drop to rearrange the tiles but alas no.

Got Word for Mac?  Check out Style Priorities in Word for Mac

Style Priority

Style Gallery order is set using the mysterious Priority setting. It’s listed there in the style summary in Modify Style:

style priorities in words style gallery microsoft word 25560 - Style Priorities in Word's Style Gallery

But you won’t find a place to change Priority anywhere in the many Modify Style options!  ‘Add to Styles gallery’ is there but not the accompanying Priority setting.

‘Style Priority’ isn’t a good name. Something like ‘Style Order’ or ‘Style Display Order’ would have been more appropriate.

The order of the styles list and gallery is a Word Mystery© until you dig into the Manage Styles area starting from the Styles pane and the little Manage Styles button at the bottom.

style priorities in words style gallery microsoft word 25561 - Style Priorities in Word's Style Gallery

Manage Styles | Recommended is where Priority is controlled.

style priorities in words style gallery microsoft word 25562 - Style Priorities in Word's Style Gallery

(It’s also the place to change the visibility of a style:  Show, Hide or Hide until used)

Style Priority order

Style Priorities start at 1 (top of the list) down to 100 (last).

Normal style arrives with Priority 1, therefore always at the start of the Style Gallery.

Default Paragraph and No Spacing styles are Priority 2

Heading styles have Priority 10 (leaving some priority spaces empty to squeeze styles between 1 and 10, if necessary).

In recent versions of Word priority 100 now shows a ‘last’ in the style list.

Order of Styles with same Priority

If more than one style has the same priority value (e.g. the Heading styles), Word uses alphabetical order of style names to decide which style comes first.

We tested that by changing some styles to the same priority value.

style priorities in words style gallery microsoft word 25563 - Style Priorities in Word's Style Gallery

Document or Template?

Below the style list is the usual and important Word style question.  Save to the document only or to the template for other documents?

style priorities in words style gallery microsoft word 25564 - Style Priorities in Word's Style Gallery

Style Priority in action

Here’s a revised Style Gallery.  Unwanted styles are removed. The priority values changed so the main paragraph/body content styles are together at the start of the list.

Headings are last on the list because they are less frequently used and quickly chosen by keyboard shortcuts .  See Fast Keyboard shortcuts for Word styles.

style priorities in words style gallery 25565 - Style Priorities in Word's Style Gallery

Style.Priority in VBA

The Style object has a Priority property (Long) e.g. Style.Priority

Under the hood

Style Priorities are saved in Word documents or templates.

Inside the Word document there’s a styles.xml file.  Each style listed has a style attribute w:uiPriority

A short style might like this, in part

<w:style w:styleId="MyStyle">  ...

<w:uiPriority w:val="15"/>

... </w:style>

Normally you’d not touch the document XML because style changes can be done easily and more reliably via Manage Styles or even VBA.

However, the Word XML details are important for our friends with Word for Mac.


Want More?

Office Watch has the latest news and tips about Microsoft Office. Independent since 1996. Delivered once a week.