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Introduction to Styles in Microsoft Word: A Tutorial


This brief exercise requires you first to apply default Microsoft Word styles to an existing text and then to create and modify a new style. Styles provide a way to tag a type of text to apply a series of formatting options. Tagging is fundamental to advanced word processing and page layout programs as well as to website design, and it is valuable to understand the concept of tagging as well as to apply one program's method.

You will need to copy the sample text at the end of this document into a Microsoft Word file. Then follow these directions.


1. Apply default Word styles. Apply the "heading 1" style to the title of the paragraphs at the bottom of these instructions. Apply the "normal" style to the first paragraph.


  • Note the box above the ruler on the screen that says "normal." Press on the down arrow to see the list of styles.

  • Select the text below that requires a style. Then go back to the styles box and select the correct style. For example, select the title and apply "heading 1."

2. Create a style named "blockquote." When you create the style, you will select its features: typeface and size and paragraph spacing. Later, you will be able to apply all these features to selected text just by identifying the style name.


  • From the Format menu, select Styles and formatting.... If you are working in Word 2002 or XP, you will see a frame appear at the right of your screen. The style name "Normal" will appear at the top.
  • Click on the "New style" button.
  • In the "Name" space, type blockquote.
  • From the Format menu at the bottom of the window, select Font.
  • From the font names, select Arial. Select 10 as the type size. Select italic. Click OK.

  • From the Format menu, select paragraph.
  • Under Indentation, type in 1" for the left margin and 1" for the right.
  • Under Spacing, select 6 points after. You may be able to use the up and down arrows, or you may have to type in the number.
  • Click OK.
  • Close the Style window.

3. Apply blockquote style to the second and third paragraphs below. Note how the 6-point spacing between the 2 paragraphs is smaller than the space of "skipping a line."


4. Modify the style "blockquote."

Sample text

Styles in Word Processing

"Styles" are collections of instructions for the appearance of type, including typeface, size, and style (bold, italic, roman); margins and vertical spacing; indentation; and other visual features to distinguish one category of text from another. A writer or editor can save all these directions in a named style. By selecting the style, the writer or editor applies all the directions in just one step.

Some styles are already created in Microsoft Word, but you can create your own as well. A "template" is a collection of styles for a particular document. For example, a "resume" template may contain different styles than an "instructions" template.

The concept of styles is central to publishing programs, such as FrameMaker. Styles are used in web pages as well as in print. The styles speed up the process of page design, but they also impose consistency on similar types of text. This consistency saves time at proofreading and ensures a more professional looking document.

You can download this tutorial as an RTF file here.