Word styles

Word StylesHow is it that otherwise competent people still don’t know how to use style sheets in Word? How long’s Word had styles? Well over a decade.

You load up some document to do some work on it, and some idiot has created a zillion different styles, by virtue of editing the entire document manually (and therefore inconsistently) and Word happily making every little variation a separate style.

Half the headings have numbering, half don’t, the default paragraph type after a heading has a bullet, the bullets are mis-aligned, some bright spark has decided a standard text paragraph isn’t “Normal” but has its own special name, and the whole thing’s a mess.

I remember a few years ago I painstakingly set up a document with about 15 styles, to cover any eventuality expected, then wrote tons of text for it, and passed it to someone else for review. It came back with all the styles removed. All the text was just formatted independently, and had been changed around to be inconsistent. To this day I don’t know how he did that. Grrr.

And even last week a document came my way that had a ludicrous number of styles in it. Possibly 200 or more. You had to scroll through the list for ages to find what you wanted.

Oh, some people can’t use the Language features, either. I know it’s common for Aussies to accidentally set their documents to US English and then wonder why it complains about “colour”, but the other day someone sent me a document which had half its text set to French (even though it was in English).

3 thoughts on “Word styles

  1. Michael Rees

    I have been fighting this battle for students to use styles in Word since 1987 on the Mac. The battle continues today.

  2. Martin

    I tried to use them a few times and could not work them out. Did spend a considerable time trying. The help provided with word is woefully inadequate. I certainly never knew that every part of a document had to have a stylesheet and that word goes madle creating new ones evreytime you change something, and I bet it is never spelled out in the help screen – probably at best a warning somewhere not to just change things as a new stylesheet will get created.
    Not sure that being round for a decade means much, as I would have been using word 97 when I tried stylesheets but have only been using that for 4-6 years. Though I think style sheets were avil in prev verions so probably well over 15 years. But even then once something gives me too much trouble I will rarely come back to try again unless I have a real need.

  3. Peter Burtenshaw

    Word has had styles since version 1.0 for DOS (1983, I think. That version still does just about everything the average user needs.

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