Style Counsel

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This month, we actually have style advice for you.

We all use Word styles for quick and consistent formatting of our copy. We all also, it is to be hoped, always click 'clear formatting' in the styles task pane list (CTRL + SHIFT + ALT + S to toggle) before styling our text.

A couple of tips when using this function: if you've applied both paragraph formatting and character formatting to a chunk of text, to clear just the character formatting (and not the paragraph formatting), select the whole paragraph and press CTRL + SPACEBAR. This will get rid of any character styles in the selected text, including both Word's default styles (italic, bold, superscript, etc) and any you may have created yourself. To undo just the paragraph formatting and not the character formatting, select the whole paragraph and press CTRL + Q. This will get rid of things like double-spacing, bullet points, text alignment, and will reset to the underlying paragraph style.

Further: a quick way of distinguishing between different types of styles is to look at the symbols next to them in the styles task pane. A style with next to it will be a paragraph style; a style with a, a character style; a style with a will be a linked style (one that behaves as either a character or a paragraph style, depending on your selection - this is worth googling).

We leave the sweetest for last: most readers will (maybe? probably?) be familiar with this function, but if you're not, this will really make your day: Format Painter, in the Home tab (looks like a paintbrush). If you want to quickly copy style from text 1 to text 2, simply click into (or select) text 1 and click the Format Painter button. Then select text 2 (or if it's just one word, click into it) and it will immediately change style to that of text 1. Format Painter will then automatically be deselected. If, however, you'd like to keep applying this style to text 3, 4, 5, click into text 1 and double-click Format Painter. This will allow you to keep painting random text until you deselect the button (or press ESC).

There's more on styles to come next month, but in the meantime, if you have any questions of your own, please do write to us.