Convert directly-applied formatting to styles

By combining the skills of creating styles, updating styles, and selecting by styles, you can quickly reformat an entire document. The procedures described here will help you take a document that uses directly applied formatting and convert it into a clean, style-driven document.

The approach is:

  1. Select text that has been formatted with directly-applied formatting.
  2. Define a style for the formatting of that text by creating a new style or redefining an existing style based on the selection.
  3. Apply the new style to the selection.
  4. Select all other instances of the formatting.
  5. Apply the new style to all other instances of the old formatting.

1. Select text that has been formatted with directly-applied formatting.

This step can be accomplished two ways:

  • Select the text in the document.
  • In the Styles and Formatting task pane, make sure that the Show box is showing Formatting in use. Then click the drop-down arrow next to an item in the Pick formatting to apply list and choose Select All x Instance(s).

2. Define a style for the formatting of that text.

Create a new style, or redefine an existing style, to reflect the formatting of your selection.

  • To create a new style based on the formatting, click the New Style button in the Styles and Formatting task pane, give the new style a name, and click OK.
  • To redefine an existing style, click the drop-down arrow next to that style and choose Update to Match Selection.

3. Apply the new style to the selection.

When you create a new style or update an existing style based on your selection, the style is not automatically applied to the selection. So, after creating a new style or redefining an existing style:

  • Click the style name in the Pick formatting to apply list to apply the style to the selected text.

You should see the name of the style in the Formatting of selected text preview in the Styles and Formatting task pane.

4. Select all other instances of the formatting.

  • Click the drop-down arrow next to an item in the Pick formatting to apply list and choose Select All x Instance(s).

All text in the document that uses equivalent formatting is selected.

5. Apply the new style to all other instances of the old formatting.

  • Click the style name in the Pick formatting to apply list.

You should see the name of the style in the Formatting of selected text preview in the Styles and Formatting task pane.

At this point, the entry in the Pick formatting to apply list should disappear if the Show box reads Formatting in use, because the previous formatting or style should no longer be in use. It has been replaced by the style.

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