Use Styles to Your Advantage

Word provides many features for managing large documents. For instance, you can automate a table of contents or an index. Anybody working with large documents already knows the value of clicking a few buttons and having Word produce an index, as if by magic. In addition, keeping up with footnotes and endnotes, as you add and delete text is a feature that I use extensively.

The downside of all this flexibility is a document full of codes and styles. I use these features to create manuscripts, but I must submit clean documents. In other words, the document must be pure text, with no formatting, no codes, and no styles. That means I have to outsmart Word from the get go, or I have to strip the document before I submit it. A combination of both usually does the trick.

You can strip codes using the Find/Replace feature, but the process is a bit awkward and it strips all codes, not specific types. If you need a work around for that problem, read Remove field codes from Word documents with this handy macro at

My second problem is the style that Word applies to footnotes. Specifically, the text and reference fonts are smaller than the document text. When submitting a manuscript, I need everything to be the same font and size, even the footnotes.

Fortunately, it’s easy to modify the footnote reference and text styles. The following steps change the footnote text’s style:

  1. Select footnote text in your document.
  2. Choose Styles and Formatting from the Format menu.
  3. In the Styles combo box at the top of the Styles and Formatting pane, choose Modify. (This control should display Footnote Text. You can’t tell there’s a dropdown menu until you click the control.)
  4. Choose the appropriate Font, Font Size, and other attributes, accordingly.
  5. Click OK.

To adjust the footnote reference (the superscript numeral), select an actual reference number in the footnote section and repeat steps 2 and 3 above. Then, click the Format button at the bottom of the Modify Style dialog and choose Font. In the resulting Font dialog, uncheck Superscript and click OK twice to return to your document. Save your changes. Unfortunately, deleting the reference style’s Superscript font will affect the reference number in text, as well as the actual footnote.

Word still maintains your footnotes; you’ve changed only the formatting. Of course, you can apply whatever formats you need. Most of you won’t want to delete all formatting as I did. If you have a frequent need for the modified styles, I suggest you create a template with the adjusted styles.


Susan Sales Harkins is an IT consultant, specializing in desktop solutions. Previously, she was editor in chief for The Cobb Group, the world's largest publisher of technical journals.

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