February 20, 2008

Word — Keep your stinking hands off my styles!

Date: February 12th, 2008

Author: Susan Harkins

The number one complaint I have about Word is its dogmatic need to control everything I do. Now, I realize that Microsoft professionals put a lot of thought into Word’s default settings, and I don’t fault them for their choices — well, not too much. On the other hand, some settings annoy me.  I could list them all — there are several. Instead, I’m just going to tell you about the one that truly makes me want to stick pins in someone’s effigy.

Ever buy viagra in london been typing along, applied a style, and found it wasn’t the style you defined? A style is a set of formatting attributes you apply. You define the style to save time. Instead of applying several formats, you apply the style. Word, by default, knows when you’ve altered the formatting for an applied style and automatically updates the style — whether you want it to or not.

There are two ways you can stop Word in its tracks:

  • Disable the feature by choosing AutoCorrect Options from the Tools menu, clicking the AutoFormat As You Type option, and then unchecking the Define Styles Based On Your Formatting option in the Automatically As You Type section.
  • Force Word to ask you by choosing Options from the Tools menu, clicking the Edit tab, and checking the Prompt To Update Style option.

Don’t select both options, of course — they don’t work together. Choose one method or the other.

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1 Comment »

February 20, 2008

al said:

Word can’t keep it’s hands off anyway…
One of the first changes I make to Word when I install it is to turn off the option to automatically define styles as you type and yet I keep finding that my Normal template styles keep getting redefined to match whatever template I use the most. For example, since I most often am typing manuscripts at home, I find that the Normal style in normal.dot has been redefined as double-spaced. When I create a “blank document” that’s what I get.

At first I thought it was my fault, that I had changed the styles before saving the template (thereby saving the style changes to Normal) but when I got my latest computer I deliberately created a template, saved it, and then made changes to the template. The styles in Normal were still changed.

Do you know of any way to avoid that problem?
Posted: 02/12/2008 @ 11:56 AM (PST)
Good question
I’ve done this by backing up, then altering the Normal template. Another way is to change which template is the default. Either way, I’ve never found a quick way to choose when starting a doc. Then again, I don’t use Word a whole lot. Back when I was writing help files, I aggressively customized the entire app, but I wasn’t using it for much else, so it didn’t matter.

I wouldn’t mind some pointers in this area myself.
Posted: 02/12/2008 @ 08:25 PM (PST)
Create a “base” style in your template(s).
I can’t take credit for this tip, it actually comes from reading my “(2003) Word Bible” (from QUE Publishing) … create a new base style, to replace Normal, in any customized template. Build all your customized styles on that base, which is slick, ‘cuz you can change the base (font, pt, etc.) and all the styles connected to the base change too! Another QUE tip, don’t alter the Normal.dot … create customized .dots (nothing’s worse that corrupting the MS-issued “default” template.)
Posted: 02/13/2008 @ 08:42 AM (PST)
Normal.dot update – tuurn it off
Don’t forget to turn off the option to automatically save changes to normal.dot when you save your document. That will also cause an unexpected change to the MS default, many times for the worse.
Posted: 02/18/2008 @ 06:26 AM (PST)
Random styles
I can NEVER get Word to retain my default font. I don’t like to use Times New Roman, I prefer Arial. No matter where I set that font as the default, when I open a new document, there’s that doggone Times New Roman again!

And what’s worse, if I DO set a font on the first paragraph of my document, I expect that font to remain in effect until I change it again but NOOOOOOOOO, I have to either re-set the font after I hit for the next paragraph, or I have to use to keep the formatting.

I really hate the, “There, there, dear, you couldn’t possibly know what’s best for your document as well as we do, so just let us do it and don’t worry your pretty little head over it.”

And don’t EVEN get me started on automatic hyperlinks!!!!
Posted: 02/18/2008 @ 09:03 AM (PST)
changing font in the entire document
If you press Ctrl+A before selecting Arial the change will apply to every part of the document, including the next paragraph that doesn’t exist yet.
Posted: 02/18/2008 @ 09:17 PM (PST)
Actually, I’ve tried that…
Sometimes it works, but just as often when I hit it goes back to Times New Roman. I know where/how to set the default font for all docs, just sometimes Word ignores the setting.

Besides, I don’t ALWAYS want everything to be Arial – sometimes I like my heading text, or list text, or some other text I want to bring attention to, to be a different font.

Sadly, there isn’t usually a one-size-fits all solution.
Posted: 02/19/2008 @ 08:41 AM (PST)
Easy Way To Fix That!
Write protect normal.dot so Word cannot make these changes. If you want to make changes, unwrite protect just for your changes. This is the way we stopped macro viruses before the advent of anti-virus software back in the stone ages.

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