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?

   Unexpected style or formatting changes can have one of two distinct causes:

   1. Typically they happen when the name of a style in the source document is identical to a style name in the receiving document. The receiving document (almost) always controls. This 'rule' may give you unexpected results.

For example:

Let's say that the 'Heading 1' style of the source document is "Arial, 18 point, bold, italics, no numbering." When you look at the source document, everything appears in order.

Let's further say that the 'Heading 1' style of the receiving document (most likely because it is based on your normal.dot template) is "Times New Roman, 14 point, bold, w/ numbering."

Since the style of the receiving document 'trumps' the style of the source document, the paragraph formatted with style 'Heading 1' will appear as  "Times New Roman, 14 point, bold, w/ numbering." Your nicely laid out and unnumbered headings now appear all messed up. In fact, they are not messed up. It's just that the rule is working, even when you do not want it to.

The Solution: Make sure that the receiving document always contains the same style names and formatting as the source document. The most effective and efficient way to do this is to create a template based on a properly configured, but more or less ‘blank,’ source document. Click here for step by step instructions on how to create such a template.

   2. Headers and footers are controlled by a document's ‘Page Setup’ settings. If the settings of the source document don't match those of the receiving document, the receiving document again controls, and an undesired result may occur.

The Solution: To make sure that the receiving document always contains the same header and footer settings as the source document, you should create a template based on a properly configured, but more or less ‘blank,’ source document. Click here for step by step instructions. (Not to worry. They are the same instructions as in paragraph 1 above.)

   3. Here is a another 'factoid' that you should know about Word. The formatting for a specific paragraph (its style, fonts, case, emphasis, indents, color, and the like are all stored in the paragraphs 'pilcrow' (¶) at the end of the paragraph. (This is as opposed to Word Perfect where are changes are stored at the start of the document and then modified at the specific point in the document when each style change is made.)  Therefore, the result may be different when you copy and paste in a paragraph (or section of a paragraph) with the pilcrow as opposed to without it.

Determining/Correcting Style Issues:

   Word provides two very helpful keyboard shortcuts which may help in your quest of determining the origin of style issues, and making your document styles uniform.

Ctrl-Space: As you have noticed, characters can be formatted independently of the paragraph within which they reside. (That way you can make letters within a word a different colors or fonts. You can reset a character (or group of characters) within a word to the style of the underlying paragraph by placing the curson within the word and pressing Alt-Spacebar. (Or highlight a group of words. All highlighted words will be reset to underlying the paragraph style.

Ctrl-Q: Word makes it easy to add non-font changes to a base style. Example: indenting, alignments, spacing. You can 'clean' a paragraph of such changes, and cause it to revert to the base style by pressing Alt-Q. So, if the base normal style is "Times New Roman, 12 pitch, no indent" and the current paragraph is "Normal + Indent .25 Before", pressing Ctrl-Q within the paragraph will remove the "Indent" and restore the paragraph the the standard "Normal" configuration.

Clear Styles: If you activate the Styles menu and click the "Clear Formatting" selection (near the top), all style definitions of the selected text will be cleared, and the text will be assigned to 'Normal' style. This is sometimes the easiest way to start from scratch.

Use them both: When things appear hopelessly mis-formatted, highlight the 'confused' section of text and press both Ctrl-Space and Ctrl-Q (in that order). The first command returns the paragraph to the underlying character formatting as defined in the style and the second returns the paragraph to the underlying paragraph formatting defined in the style. If, after pressing these two shortcut keys, the text looks different than it did before, then there was explicit formatting applied. That explicit formatting would carry over and affect the look of the text any time that it is called.

Copy styles: You can easily copy styles to and from your Normal.dot to another template or active document.

oClick the 'southeast' pointing arrow in the Styles box (Home tab) to bring up the Styles menu. Click the Manage Styles icon at the bottom of the screen. (It's the third one from the left. It's not labeled, but you can hover over the icon to reveal its purpose.) Click the Import/Export button at the lower left. Click the items you want to copy in either list, and then click Copy.
The above steps takes some practice to get the feel for how all of this works. But these tools are very helpful as you purge your base documents of what often times are complex combinations of styles and fonts embedded in your source documents that serve no purpose.

Style Sheets:

   Beginning wilth Pathagoras 2018, you can create several documents that contain font, case, emphasis, indent, definitions that you prefer.  We call these documents 'style sheets'. You can quickly call up a style sheet to feed the various attributes of specific documents. Read more about Style Sheets beginning on the next page.

See Also

Templates Q & A

Assign Template to Book

Assign Template to Document

Styles (FAQs)

Paragraph Styles (Templates)