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There is an option in Word that certainly sounds good in theory, but can also be a dangerous little button if you don't know exactly what the function will do. It's called the Automatically Modify Style option. It will be easier for us to see for ourselves just how this works if we just use this function, so let's get started. Switch to Draft view, so go to View and then Draft. And notice that the first paragraph and the following two paragraphs all have the Intro Paragraph style applied.
Let's select this very first paragraph that starts with "This Manual," and we'll apply italics. You can use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+I. As you can see, although we only had the first paragraph selected, it changed every style that had the Intro Paragraph applied. Again, select the first paragraph, if it's not already, and this time let's apply underline. Use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+U. Notice how all of our paragraphs changed, which was not our intention, since we only had the first paragraph selected.
Now, let's open up the Reveal Formatting pane to see what's going on here. On your keyboard, hold down the Shift key and press F1. Make sure Distinguish style source is checked down here at the bottom of this pane. At the very top here, you'll see underneath the font that italic and underline are both part of the style. They're not directly applied using direct formatting. Now, let's undo the changes we've made so far. Use Ctrl+Z on your keyboard and just press it twice. Now, let's go down to the first paragraph underneath of "Changes In Policy" and select the paragraph that starts with "This Manual supersedes." Now, before we do anything, notice that this paragraph is using the HB Body Text style.
We want to indent this paragraph by 0.5 inches, so up here on your ruler, click and drag your indent to 0.5 inches. Notice how all of the styles that are using the HB Body Text are now indented. So, what's going on here? Let's modify the HB Body Text style. Open up the style pane. Ctrl+Shift+Alt+S. Find the HB Body Text style and click on the down arrow and click on Modify. Here is our problem.
It says Automatically update. It's part of the style here, and you can see that it's got a check in this check box, so uncheck it and click on OK. Now, let's go ahead and do the same thing with our first paragraph and bring that indent back over to the left side, and you'll see only the selected paragraph is changed, so it's no longer part of the style. Let's go check out the Intro Paragraph style as well. Scroll down until you see the Intro Paragraph, click on the down arrow, go to Modify, and here it is.
Automatically update is also checked here in this style, and then click on OK. And when you go back up here and you select the first paragraph and you click on Ctrl+U, the underline no longer affects all of the Intro Paragraph styles, just the selected paragraph. Now, look over here in the Reveal Formatting pane and you'll to see that Underlying is part of the Direct Formatting; it's no longer part of the style. Another issue that this option can unknowingly cause is if any styles were based on the style in which you selected the Automatically update option will also have underline plus italics applied, and it becomes part of its style as well.
We'll be looking at the Based Upon option in the next movie. It is for this reason that a lot of experienced style users shy away from using this feature. On the other hand, if it is your intention, it may come in handy in certain circumstances. The key is understanding how it works and what using this feature will result in. I've actually heard teachers say that you should always use this option. You can see how this really could cause a mess. Using the automatically update feature can affect styles in a way that may be unexpected.
Knowing the possible outcome of applying this feature to a style, or related styles, can help you avoid unnecessary grief in the future and how to troubleshoot and correct it if you receive a document that is acting unpredictably.
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