November 24, 2016 dschlaegel

MS Word – How To Make Global Changes To Your Text Document Based On Paragraph Styles?


Imagine you have a long MS Word document containing all kinds of paragraph styles. What are you going to do if you’d like to indent all section headers SIMULTANEOUSLY by one tab to the right and then change their color to red?

Obviously the Find-and-Replace functionality is of no help here. Yes, you can search for the paragraphs by their style but you need to type in a search word or phrase. And after finding the headers with that specific style and search words, you cannot select them all simultaneously for a global edit.

Tracking such headers from the TOC (Table of Contents) would also be very cumbersome and again impossible to select simultaneously.

There is a very easy method to accomplish that in a hurry.

First display the Styles and Formatting pane of your document by selecting Format > Styles and Formatting from your main menu.

Select a paragraph style in the list. It will be framed with a dark blue box.

Bring your cursor on top of the style name to display the drop-down menu arrow.

Click the arrow to display the following options:

  • Select All X Instance(s)
  • Modify…
  • Delete…
  • Update to match the Selection

Select the “Select All X Instance(s)” option to highlight every piece of text in your document which has that paragraph style.

Then click the right-indent button on your tool-bar. All the headers will be shifted towards right by one tab space.

Then click the Font Color button on your tool-bar and select Red. All your headers will be converted to red.

And you are done! Congratulations.

You can do a much more thorough edit by again selecting all instances of a paragraph style.

But instead of changing the style through the tool-bar buttons, you can display the Modify Style dialog box by selecting “Modify” from the drop-down list of the paragraph style listed in the Styles and Formatting pane.

Every change you make in that dialog box will be reflected instantly in every instance of that paragraph style.

CAUTION: If you select the “Add to template” check box and then click OK, you’ll make the changes a permanent part of your style sheet.


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