Q. When I assemble a document, the fonts, styles and/or layout in the resulting document are different from what I had in the source document. Why?

A. This typically happens when a style name in the source document matches a style name in the receiving document. When that happens, the receiving document typically controls. (This is the rule created by Microsoft, not Pathagoras.) That gives you the (unexpected) result.

For example, every document has a paragraph style named "Normal." Let's assume the following:

The receiving document has the Normal style defined to display text as 12-pt Ariel.

The source document has the Normal style defined to display text as 10-pt Times New Roman.

Any paragraphs in the source document that are formatted with the Normal style will adopt the 12-pt Ariel type face when inserted in the receiving document.

   Pathagoras attempts to minimize the occurrence of these style 'changes.'  It does so following this logic:

Pathagoras assumes that the first document called during a document assembly session contains the styles (and style names) that will set the 'pattern' for the remaining clauses. Typically the first clause is a preamble or a letterhead or other 'consistent' beginning.

Pathagoras analyzing the styles of that first clause and sets them as the 'base' styles.

If the second or subsequent documents called during an assembly session have identically named, but not identically defined, styles, then formatting of the receiving document will (by Microsoft's immutable rule) will control.

   If you do not want the formatting of a source clause to change when it is inserted into a document being assembled, just make sure that the style name associated with the source clause does not match any style name in the target document. (By the same token, if you want 'normal' text in the source document to assume the characteristics of 'normal' text in the target document, it is more important that the style name in the source match the style name in the target than it is for the 'look' of the source text to match the target.

   Minding style names can be a lot of work. In the long run, however, the time spent attending to these details is well worth it. That's why experienced Word users all proclaim the 'wonders' of Word styles. (No tongue in cheek intended. When used to their fullest, styles can save you incredible amounts of time and effort.)

A more detailed explanation and solution:

   Every paragraph, every sentence, every word and every character of every document has a style associated with it. The style shows in the Style box (actually a dropdown list) in the upper left side of the Word screen.

Click anywhere in a document and the style of that section of the document shows in the Style box.

Add bolding or numbering or indenting to text and Word finds a matching style in its list, or creates a new one. Regardless, the new style shows in the Style box.

   There are five basic groups of styles within a standard document. The below lists the groups and a few of the attributes associated with each style:

Normal Text: Font, Font Size, and Spacing between paragraphs

Body Text: Font, Font Size and Spacing between paragraphs (Typically body text the same as normal text, but with extra space at the end of each paragraph to give a more formal look.)

Heading: Font, Font Size, Indenting, Numbering, Numbering Style

Lists: Font, Font Size, Spacing between list items, numbering vs. bullets, numbering style, outline numbering, bullet style

Special Purpose: Any and all of the attributes listed in the previous 4 items, and potentially many more.

   If you look at the styles (either click the Styles list in the upper left side of the screen or click "Format | Styles and Formatting") connected to a document, you almost always will see many more than 5 items in the list. However, if you study the composition of each style, you will see that most of the other styles are simply variations of the basic styles above, with the differences being noted as a appendage.

   In Word, styles can be (and usually are) based on other styles. If you create a new style, Word bases it on the style of the paragraph that was selected before the style was modified. (You can explicitly change the style name in the “Modify Style” dialog.)     That is why you often see something like: Normal + Indent: Hanging 0.25", Space After 6 point. The Normal style is preserve, but a hanging paragraph added. Similarly, a definition that reads: “Normal + Font Arial” in the Format + Style dialog, the base 'Normal' attributes are preserved with the exception that the font is changed.

   It is the base files and the appended attributes that cause most of the problem. Pathagoras attempts to avoid the problems when documents are assembled, and will generally be successful when at least all of the documents in the same book contain the same formatting for each style name used in both the source and the receiving documents.

   However, if the documents within a book contain identical style names, yet these identically named styles don't have the identical attributes, then formatting issues will arise. The receiving document will always control. You should examine the contents of each file in a folder that has been mapped to a book to insure this consistency.

   If you want to apply an existing style to a piece of text, highlight the text and then click the Style box dropdown list. Select the style you want.You can modify the attributes of a style by clicking Format | Styles and Formatting. Select the style name that you want to adjust. Click the dropdown button to the right of the style name and make the changes.

   It is perfectly okay to create a new 'normal.dot' template. Simply take a document that has all of the settings, fonts, numbering styles, etc., that you like and save it as normal.dot in the "C:\Documents and Settings\{username}\Application Data\Microsoft\Templates" folder. (Suggestion: before saving a new normal.dot, rename the current one "normal.bak" so you have a backup of the original in case you want to restore it.


Q. When I insert a clause from one of my glossaries into a document, the layout of the inserted clause is different from what I had in the source document. The styles all match (i.e., I read and applied the above section), yet things don't look like they should. Why?

A. If this is not resolved by the 'styles' fixes discussed above, this may also be a "final 'Enter'" (pilcrow) issue.

Explanation: The formatting for a specific paragraph  (paragraph numbering, alignment and other attributes) is actually  controlled by, and embedded within, the closing paragraph marker (called the 'pilcrow') at the end of that paragraph. If, when defining the scope of the glossary term, you did not include the closing pilcrow, you will lose the formatting.

The fix: Recall the document and navigate to the clause that is not behaving. Show the document's bookmarks and click the 'Show All' button in Word's tool bar -- it is the 'pilcrow' ('¶)  symbol. Is the pilcrow within or without the closing bookmark bracket? If not within, make sure the cursor is inside the term. To accomplish that, follow these steps:

Click the Pathagoras dropdown features menu and click Editing Tools|Glossary Tools.

Click the button that says "Rename/Resize" term.

Select the option that reads "Expand to Include Paragraph Marker."

Save the glossary. You should be good to go.

See also:


Style Sheets

Automatic Paragraph Numbering

Here is an article from the WordTips website (which I highly recommend to you)
that explains "Styles" in a different, perhaps more meaningful, way:


Since the original drafting, I have found yet another terrific resource on styles, this one by Charles Kenyon.
This one is a deep dive into styles. A bit challenging to read, but full of good stuff:



   If the style and other formatting attributes of the text which you are trying to copy/paste into a new document don't appear identical, you most likely have a 'style' issue. The 'style name' of the pasted text doesn't match any style name of the receiving document, a new style was injected that may not be compatible with your template. (Now that could be a 'good' thing. That's your call.)

   The solution is to make sure every document across your entire system is based in the same 'style set.' See this link for more on styles. An alternative solution is to create a template based on a specific style that you want and, when appropriate, lay down that template as the base of the new document and pour the selected clauses into that template or (2) call that style into an existing document.