Manage Styles and display order in Word for Mac

Managing Styles and priority / order settings in Word for Mac is harder but possible if you’re willing to dig in document or template settings.

Word for Mac has two style lists available, just like Word for Windows.  The Quick Style Gallery across the ribbon Home tab (called Style Gallery in WinWord) and the Styles pane that can appear on the right.

On or Off the Quick Style list

Controlling what’s on the Quick Style list is easy enough.  On the Modify Style dialog is a ‘Add to Quick Style list’ checkbox.

Quick Style list order for styles

But changing the order of the styles on that list is a hidden mystery.  Officially there’s no way to do it in Word for Mac!

Word for Mac obeys the same Style Priority setting as Word for Windows but gives users no way to change it!

Word for Mac lacks the proper Manage Styles options that are available in Word for Windows.  Maybe Microsoft will get around to fixing that. But given that it’s taken Redmond well over a decade to put font embedding into Word for Mac, don’t hold your breath.

There are three ways to change Word style priority and some other obscure style settings.

Open Word for Windows

The easiest way to change Style priority is to use Word for Windows (aka WinWord).  If you have it (Parallels or some other way to run Windows on a Mac) or can use Word for Windows on someone’s computer.

Open the document or template in Word for Windows, go to Manage Styles and change the priorities. Save the file then move back to your Mac.  See Style Priorities in Word’s Style Gallery

Yes, it’s silly and demeaning for a Mac user to stoop down to the level of Windows, but it’s the best way.

VBA setting

All the style settings are available in VBA for Mac.

Make a small macro like this:

Sub UpdateStyle()

' change the:

' - style name to exactly match the style to change.

' - Style.Priority   -- lower number means higher/earlier in Quick Styles list.

With ActiveDocument.Styles("No Spacing")

.Priority = 95

End With

‘ Remember to close and re-open the document to make the change appear in the Quick Styles list

End Sub

Change the style name and priority value.

This code only needs to be run once while the document or template is open.  No need to convert the document into .docm format.

However, Word for Mac does NOT immediately update the Quick Styles list (aka Styles Gallery).  Close then re-open the document to force a reordering of the Quick Styles list.

Edit document XML

Another way to change style priorities is to hack the document/template XML.  John Korchok has a good explanation of the details.

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

A short style might look like this, in part

<w:style w:styleId="MyStyle">  ...

  <w:uiPriority w:val="95"/> 

 ... </w:style>

Break open the Word document to expose the XML (remember, Office documents are really ZIP files).  Edit the word/styles.xml file.  Search for the style name then the w:uiPriority attribute.  Change the w:val as shown above.  Save styles.xml then restore all the XML back into a Word document.

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