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I have a question for you: Have you ever used a style before? If you just answered no, you may be surprised to know that the correct answer is most probably yes. Believe it or not, if you've used Microsoft Word, you've used styles. That's because straight out of the box Word automatically opens new documents using a default paragraph style called the Normal style. When you open a blank document, by default the Normal style is what tells Word what font, alignment, the spacing after, and so forth to use when you start to type.
Then how can you tell that Word is using the Normal style when you open a document? One of the ways to see what style or styles are in use in your document is by using a tool called the Style area. For veteran Word users, you may recall the older versions of Word also included this feature, and it's still available in Word 2010; it's just a little harder to find. So let's see the Style area in action. We'll start by opening a blank document, by using the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+N.
The Style area feature is a bit hidden. When I say hidden I mean that you first have to turn this feature on from your Word Options menu before you can see it at all. Not only that, but you can only view it from the Draft or Outline view, not from the default Print Layout view. First go to File and then Options. Then go to Advanced and then find the Display area. Underneath of Display, you'll see Style area pane width in Draft and Outline views.
Type in the number 1 and then click on OK. But the Style area is not there. Remember to view the Style area, we have to be in the Draft or Outline view, so I'll go to View and then Draft, and there it is. We can now see the Style area. The Style area is a vertical area along the left edge of the document window that displays the name of the paragraph style that's applied to each paragraph. As we can see, the Normal style is indeed in use behind the scenes.
If you press the Enter key a few times on your keyboard, you'll create a few new paragraphs, and you'll see that the Normal style will be applied to each paragraph, unless you or someone else reset your Word defaults, that is. So even if you didn't know it, you've been using the Normal style all along when you're using Word. The Style area will stay on until you decide to turn it off; therefore, it's a good idea to leave it turned on so you don't have to go through all of these steps each and every time you need to use it.
In other words, if you leave it on, all you have to do to view this Style area is to go to the Draft or the Outline view. I'll go to my exercise file and go to View > Draft. The Style area can be resized, so I can click and drag either way to make it either larger or smaller. You can see all of your applied styles in the document by just looking at the Style area here. If I click and drag it all the way to the left, the Style area disappears. In order to bring it back, you have to turn it back on again by going up to File > Options > Advanced, go down to the Display area and type in 1. Press OK and it's back.
By viewing the Style area, you can see what styles are in use in your document. As you can see, by default new documents in Word open using the Normal paragraph style. We'll be going into more detail about what the Normal style is, changing the default settings, and knowing what formatting attributes are applied to the Normal in the upcoming movies.
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