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I'm a relative newbie to MS Word, though I have lots of experience with other document-preparation software. As an exercise to help me get used to the Word Way of Thinking, I'm taking an existing document and converting it to Word. I created my own styles, and things seem to look and work fine, but I now see that I'm strongly encouraged to use Word's built-in heading styles, e.g., Heading 1, Heading 2, etc. Setting aside that these names are much less meaningful than e.g, Section and Chapter, I'm having trouble seeing how to apply them to the document I'm working on.

The document has three top-level paragraph styles: Chapter, Appendix, and Unnumbered Chapter. Chapters are numbered 1, 2, 3, etc. Appendices are numbered A, B, C, etc. Unnumbered Chapters are formatted like chapters and appendices, but they're not numbered. Examples include Preface, Acknowledgments, and Index. As I said, each is a level-1 organizational entity, and in fact I've configured Word to assign an outline level of 1 for each of them. But sites like this emphasize how important it is to use the built-in heading styles in Word. How can I do that when I have multiple top-level paragraph styles?

If it matters, I'm using Word 2010.

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Well, the article you quote does have one or two sensible facts such as questioning what happens if you want to publish to the web (hint: if you have a complex document - DON'T publish it as a simple HTML file!). However, much of what is says is incidental and easily worked around assuming that you really need such a complex document format (which you probably do).

My recommendation would be to use the built-in Heading styles for the main bulk of headings (the Chapters in your example). Then have additional heading styles for the non-standard things such as Appendices and preface headings. Set these up as you have done, as level-1 (or whatever level you need). This is exactly how I do it.

One caveat though. I have, on all too many occasions, ended up with badly corrupted large, complex Word documents across many different versions of Word. So much so that, whenever I start work on a really complex document (especially if receiving edits from several authors), I add some macro's to my that override the default save function and replace it with one that automatically keeps multiple versions of the document. This is done by making a copy of the OLD file before saving the update. This is very effective and doesn't require any complex document management tools.

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