Change all instances of a style at once with Word's Formatting And Styles pane

Here's a lightning-fast way to globally replace styles in a Word document.

You've just been handed a draft of a report for review. You decide that you want to change the style applied to the report's section headings. You could use Find And Replace, but you are not quite sure what style was applied. Fortunately, you don't need to know. Follow these steps:

  1. Select the first section heading.
  2. Go to View | Task Pane; click the drop-down arrow at the top of the pane, and select Styles And Formatting. (In Word 2007, click the dialog launcher box in the Styles group of the Home tab.)
  3. Right-click the highlighted style for the selection (in this example, Heading 1 is highlighted.)
  4. Click Select All xx Instance(s). In this example, there are three instances of this style (Figure A).

Figure A

Word selects all instances of the Heading 1 style throughout the document. You see that all three instances are applied to your section headings, and you would like to change the style to Heading 2. To change all three instances, click Heading 2 in the Task Pane, as shown in Figure B. Figure B

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For some reason when I right click, I get "Select All: Not currently used" all grayed out. I did this for several of the styles that I could most certainly see were in use, but same result. I'm in Word 2003. Does that make a difference?


While the article is technically correct, the proposed method has more steps than required. To accomplish the same thing: 1. Select the first section heading. 2. In the Formatting Toolbar, click the Style dropdown and select Heading 2.


I am in the process of educating my peers in the IT department, about the use of styles in MS Word. These are a powerful concept; the first product that I used this concept with, was Interleaf. What a great document processing application that was; way ahead of its time. Another example of using styles: Before I arrived at my current IT department, our group would maintain 2 document template files. 1) the actual document template. 2) a style guide containing loads of text explaining how to complete each section of the template. Why - because the explanatory text takes too long for the authors to delete. So, not only did the authors need to have 2 windows open, 1 to read and 1 to type, but twice as many document templates were being maintained. By using the same style for all of the explanatory text (info blue, for example), we combine the 2 documents into 1, type into the same section as the explanatory text and when finished, select all text of type 'info blue' and delete it. Simple, Leslie. P.S. Any other tips for using styles in Word would be welcome.

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