It can be so frustrating! You are flying along keying in your text, and then you decide you make a formatting change in your document. Say you want to format a paragraph as bold. You select your paragraph, click on Bold on the Home tab of your Ribbon, and suddenly all your paragraphs have changed to to bold—instead of just the one you selected!
Or, you decide you want to add a number to the start of one paragraph. You select the paragraph, click the Numbering tool, and numbers appear in front of all the paragraphs in the document—not just the one you selected.
What the heck? And how do you fix this??
When this type of change occurs, you can click Ctrl+Z (the Undo shortcut) immediately and Word will reverse its action. It certainly can become very tedious very quickly to continually click Ctrl+Z , however. It makes much more sense to understand the cause of the problem, so you can then resolve the issue.
Formatting in Word is based on styles as you know from previous articles. Even if you did not know what styles are or have made a decision to never use styles, they are still there, working in the background. Every paragraph you create in your document is based on an underlying style that defines how that paragraph appears on your page. With this information understood, the next time you get a global change when you only wanted to affect a single paragraph, you will know straight away what to do.
Follow the steps below to learn how:
- Click Ctrl+Z to undo the global change.
- With your cursor still in the paragraph you formatted, display the Home tab of your Ribbon and click the small arrow icon at the bottom right of the Styles group to display the Styles pane at the right side of your screen.
- Hover your cursor over the style that is selected in the pane and click the down-arrow at its right side.
- Click on Modify to display the Modify Style dialog box.At the bottom of the dialog box is a check box labeled Automatically Update. If this check box is selected, it means that whenever you make changes to the paragraph, in your document, those changes are automatically made to the style that is assigned to the paragraph. Once the change is made, then every other paragraph in your document will be formatted using the same style.
If you are one who thinks you do not need to worry about styles, this is where you can problems. In most cases, Word uses the Normal style as the default style for paragraphs in your documents. Fortunately, Word does not provide an Automatically Update check box for the Normal style. But if you are using some other style in your document, for the basis style for all paragraphs and the Automatically Update check box is selected, I can just about guarantee that you will have this problem.
Follow the steps below to resolve the issue:
- Display the Modify Style dialog box described above.
- Be certain the Automatically Update check box is not selected. (If you do not see this check box, it means that you have displayed the Modify Style for the Normal style; you don’t need to make any changes to the Normal style.)
- Be certain New Documents Based On This Template is selected.
- Click OK to close the Modify Style dialog box.
- Close the Styles pane.
It just makes sense to familiarize yourself with Styles in Word. It makes your life so much easier!