Let Word format your document as you type

Word contains a variety of document formats to assist you in assigning particular styles to your pages. Mary Ann Richardson discusses how you can save time while creating a polished look with the help of Word's Style Gallery.

If you aren't sure how to format your document, Word includes a number of document styles that you can choose from, covering everything from spacing between paragraphs, when to indent, what type of heading to use, and table formats. All you need do is select the style you want from Word's Style Gallery, and Word will do the rest. For example, say you are typing an end-of-the-year department report and would like to use the Elegant Report document style. Follow these steps:

  1. Go to Format | Theme.
  2. Click the Style Gallery... button.
  3. Under Template, select Elegant Report and click OK.
  4. Go to Tools | AutoCorrect Options.
  5. Click the AutoFormat As You Type tab.
  6. Under the Apply As You Type section, click the Built-In Heading Styles check box.
  7. Under the Automatically As You Type section, click the Define Styles Based On your Formatting check box.
  8. Click OK.

Now you can begin typing the text of your report; Word will automatically format the document text to conform to the Elegant Report style you have chosen.

To see which formats are active, follow these steps:

  1. Click [Ctrl][F1] to display the Task Pane (or go to View | Task Pane in Word 2002).
  2. Click the Getting Started arrow and select Styles And Formatting.
  3. In the Show box, select Formatting In Use from the drop-down menu.

If you disagree with any of the styles applied by Word, you can select the text and reformat according to your preferences.

If you have an existing document and you would like to apply a style from the Style Gallery, don't worry — you don't have to retype the document. Follow steps 1 through 3 in the first set of instructions to select your style, and use these steps to have Word format your document all at once:

  1. Go to Format | AutoFormat.
  2. Click AutoFormat Now.
  3. Click OK.

As always, you can override any format Word applies.

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