6: Advanced topics for working with styles

Adding styles to the template

If you regularly write research papers, it would be nice not to have to set up the "Bibliography Entry" style every time you wanted to use it. Word lets you save your most frequently used styles to the default template, which will make them available in all your new documents in the future.

To save a style to the template, go to the style pane, click on the down arrow to the right of the style you want to save, and select “Modify Style...”:

Selecting "Modify..." after right-clicking on the "Bibliography Entry" style.

Then select the “Add to template” check box at the bottom of the window and click the OK button:

Selecting "Add to template" in the "Modify Style" window.

Any changes you make to the “Normal” style and then save to the template will become your new default style—that is, the style you'll see when you start typing in a new document.

Inserting a table of contents

By using the built-in heading styles, you can add a table of contents into your document very easily. Click the "References" tab in the ribbon toolbar, and click the "Table of Contents" button:

The "Table of Contents" button from the Word toolbar.

After selecting your preferred format, Word will insert something like the following into the document:

An example of an automatically generated table of contents.

To be sure, a table of contents is not very useful in this little 4-page report! But you can see how helpful this feature would be for much longer documents.

If you change the headings within the document, the table of contents can be automatically updated to match them. You can also update the page numbers if your document's contents have shifted around. First, select the “Update Table” button from the Review tab in the ribbon toolbar:

Then select whether you want to update just the page numbers, or the entire table:

Assigning shortcut keys

You can also specify your own keyboard shortcuts so you can apply styles quickly as you type (remember that keyboard shortcuts are already available for the default heading styles).

To assign a keyboard shortcut, select “Modify Style...”:

Selecting "Modify..." after right-clicking on the "Bibliography Entry" style.

Then click on the “Format” menu at the bottom of the window and select “Shortcut key...”:

Selecting "Shortcut key..." from the "Format" button's menu.

Move the cursor to the “Press new keyboard shortcut” field, and type the key combination that you want to assign the style to. In this case it's Ctrl + [ ' ] (apostrophe), but you can choose almost any key combination that's convenient.

Specifying [Ctrl] + [' (apostrphe)] for the new shortcut key.  Window reads: "Currently aassigned to: [prefix key]"

Word will tell you if you are selecting a key combination that is already being used. But be sure not to overwrite any key combinations that you use regularly.

This concludes the Microsoft Word Styles tutorial.