There are a lot of questions of 'why?' out there today, and I'll be the first to admit that most of those whys I can't answer. But if you've ever wondered what a style is, or why in the world you'd ever need to use one, then I've got you covered. First, I think it's most important to answer 'why use styles?', and the answer is time, and lots of it. As a matter of fact, if you use Word at all, this movie should be titled How to Save Lots of Time instead of Why Use styles. If you are the least bit skeptical, as I was before someone took the time to show me, watching the next couple of minutes may save you an enormous amount of time in your future.
So, let me stop taking up any more of that precious commodity, and let me show you how to save time, and in doing so, what a style is. So, just sit back, relax and watch for now. I'll be showing you how to build your own style step-by-step, shortly. Now in this document, there is no formatting whatsoever. If I would have received this document before I knew how to use styles, and the way that a lot of people still do, is select this title, and I'd center it.
I'd say, well it needs to be bold, and it needs space after, and then this needs an indent. It needs to be justified. Witnesseth needs to be centered. It needs to be all caps. It needs to be bold. It needs space after. Now, what we are doing here is called direct formatting. Everything is being directly applied one-by-one here, and this will take me quite a bit of time to go through an entire document.
This particular document is only a couple of pages long, but you can imagine how long this would take if I went through the entire thing. I think I still need justification here. So, I am only a little way through this document here. If I go up to the Undo button, I can see that I've done 14 Actions so far, and I am not even half-way through this page, so I am going to do an undo. Previously, I directly formatted the entire document, and for the sake of time, I'll simply let you know my findings.
This particular document requires a total of 66 steps to manually format. Let's see for ourselves the difference in time it takes to format this document if we use styles instead of direct formatting. I am going to select the entire document, doing a Ctrl+A on my keyboard. Then I am going to turn on my Styles pane, and I am going to select Body Text First Indent. Then I am going to choose the title, and I am going to apply the Title style, Witnesseth needs the Witnesseth style and all the way down at the bottom of my document, "The remainder of this page" needs Remainder, and I am done.
The whole document is completely formatted in 1, 2, 3, 4 steps. So, the bottom line is formatting this document took a total of 66 steps using direct formatting, as opposed to 4 steps using styles. In this document alone, that means using styles would save you 16 1/2 times the amount of time it would take using direct formatting. Multiply that times the number of documents you work on daily, monthly, or yearly, and you've probably saved a pretty good chunk of time you could use doing something else.
What make styles so much faster? Well, styles are a container for all kinds of formatting attributes, allowing you to apply all these attributes at the same time with just a click. Word has designed to use styles and is based on styles. As a matter of fact, styles are the very foundation of Word. Styles also help to maintain consistency, are the building blocks for creating a table of contents and make it a breeze to make global changes throughout your document. We've learned how using styles can be a huge timesaver, as opposed to formatting a document using direct formatting.
We've learned that styles are the very foundation of Word, and this is just a little taste of what styles can do for you.
- Understanding the five types of Word styles
- Using the Style pane
- Swapping styles with Find and Replace
- Formatting bulleted and numbered lists with styles
- Basing a new style on an existing one
- Modifying styles with the Style Inspector
- Building a table of contents with styles
- Linking styles with multilevel lists
- Copying, deleting, and renaming styles
- Setting document and style defaults