How to Style a Document in Word 2010

October 5, 2010, By Christian Cawley

With a new version of Microsoft Office comes a new version of Microsoft Word. This latest release of the world’s most popular word processing application comes with a brand new ribbon, not to mention some tweaks to the document styling tools seen in Word 2007.

Microsoft Word 2010 provides plenty of options for styling text and formatting of a document, from the presets provided in the ribbon to allowing you to configure your own.

If you’re upgrading from Office 2003 or earlier, the Styles section of the Microsoft Word 2010 “ribbon” (Microsoft’s term for the menu across the top of the application window) will probably seem completely alien to you – but it is surprisingly easy to use.

Quick Styles Explained

The idea behind the Microsoft Word 2010 styles is that they can be quickly applied. You don’t even need to change the style to see how it will look as Word will give you a quick preview of the change, which can be applied by selecting a few words with the mouse. A full paragraph can be styled without selecting the text first, and this is just the tip of the iceberg – the Styles menu is extremely powerful and can deliver astonishing results.

Probably the best way to see just what you can do with the styles is to find an old Word document, make a copy of it in Microsoft Word 2010 and apply different styles to different sections and headers.

The first thing you should do is expand the list by clicking the lowermost arrow in the right corner of the Styles section – here you will see a selection of styles for titles, headings, sub-headings, quotes and standard passages of text. You might think that there isn’t much to choose from, but if you click out of this box and use the Change Styles drop-down menu, you can change the Style Set.

Style Sets, Fonts and Paragraphs

In Microsoft Word 2010, you can select from a range of different Style Sets. This is a great way to get you started straight away instead of fiddling about altering fonts and paragraph spacing to get the look that you want.

Among the presets, for example, is a “manuscript” option, which allows you to instantaneously apply double line spacing to your document, as well as indenting the title. Similarly, you can choose a Word 2003 style, useful if you wish to make a new document look like it was written in an older version of the word processor.

In the Change Styles menu, you can also choose from a range of new colours, particularly useful if you are creating a document with many headings, subtitles, quotes, etc., while the Fonts menu lets you apply a new font across the whole document theme.

Customizing and Building Your Own Styles

Of course, you may be unhappy with the styles featured in Word 2010, but like the idea of being able to quickly apply new formatting to passages of text and subtitles.

If this is the case, you’ll be pleased to know that you can customize styles, just like you could in earlier versions. While the menu might be different, the functions are largely the same, and creating a new style can be quickly and easily done by selecting a section of text, formatting it to look the way you want, and then going to the Styles drop down and Save Selection as New Quick Style…

In the dialogue box, give your new style a title so that you will remember it, and you’ll then be ready to use it throughout the document! You can even reformat each of the default styles to your preference, and create a new theme by going to Change Styles > Style Set > Save as Quick Style Set… and saving a new template.

Quick and easy document styling with Microsoft Word 2010!

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