View and edit styles quickly in Word 2010

If you create your own custom styles or just want a quick way to view and modify existing ones, you should turn on the style area pane in Microsoft Word.

The option is tucked away: Go to File, Options, Advanced, and then scroll down to the Display section. Now enter a value in the text box next to Style area pane width in Draft and Outline views. Just enter "1 in" for starters; you can always make it larger or smaller later:

Set style area pane width

Now go to the View tab and click Draft to enable a view where this pane is visible. (You could use Outline, but Draft looks more like your final document - which is helpful when applying styles.)

Style area pane

You can double-click a style to open the Style dialog box, where you can quickly change between pre-set styles - say to No Spacing if you want to turn off default line skips between paragraphs:

Style settings

Click the Modify button if you want to edit a style and apply the change to all content that uses it throughout the document:

Modify Style

There's a lot of power in this feature, but if it ever gets in your way you can simply grab the vertical line that separates the style area from your content and drag it left to make it go away.


Comments (5)

  1. MrsNice says:

    thank you!!! you just shave at least an hour off my editing tonight!!

  2. ceiswyn says:

    But… I don't want to have to work in Draft or Outline view just in order to see my styles.  I want to be able to author in print layout view and still see them.  On the right hand side of my screen as it was in all previous versions and as the gods intended!

  3. jkimball says:

    @cesiwyn Agreed!

    Click the little down arrow thing in the lower right corner of the style menu section. That pops up the old style browser.  Also ctrl-alt-shift-S toggles it on and off.  I cant get it to 'show all instances' of a style but it is mostly there.  Just posting in case anyone else agrees.

  4. John Hudson says:

    I'm finding Word 2010 very frustrating in many areas, including styles. I agree with ceiswyn and jkimball, but I don't know what jkimball means by the "style menu section" and Ctrl-Alt-S just divides my document into two panes, showing no styles…

  5. Nancy says:

    JH, I think you forgot the Shift in that combo.

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