'Normal' is the default style, but why is its 'Style type' is greyed and deactivated (see red rectangle beneath)?

I fancy changing its 'Style type' to 'Linked' as 'Linked' is paragraph + character, and so obviously broader than just 'Paragraph'. It's obviously inefficient to change Normal's 'Style type' in every new Word document.

Linked (paragraph and character) style is a (relatively) new and special type of style. It can act as either a paragraph style or a character style depending on how you use it.

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  • I'd assume when you created them, you copied down (or repeated as default) the bad setting. Now each single one has the (same) information stored with it, to 'restart numbering and not indent'. If this is correct, you should have corrected the first one before you typed the other ones. - There should be ways to fix that easier, but I don't know enough to detail them out. Something with 'right-click/select all lines with that formatting' and then do your correction. – Aganju Apr 4 '16 at 3:09
  • @Aganju Yes, I probably erred somewhere. I am inferring that you do not know the specifics for an option that allows me to 'right-click/select all lines with that formatting'? If you do, please do educate me. – Greek - Area 51 Proposal Apr 4 '16 at 21:42

I think the basic problem here is a matter of terminology. You were told that a Linked Style contains paragraph+character formatting, but that does not mean that all styles do not contain paragraph+character formatting. In fact all styles do, linked or not.

Word is a very old product. It has evolved a lot, but the basic concepts have stayed the same across all iterations.

Word in fact has only two basic concepts: text and style. Every time you change the format of any part of the text, you are in effect creating a new internal style. Every part of the text has its formatting defined by a style, meaning one and only one style, which may build upon existing styles, but is still the only one that applies for that text.

An example from one of the references below:

if you have a paragraph formatted as MyBody, you select the paragraph, and then you explicitly apply some formatting (such as bold or italic), then you'll see a new entry in the Styles task pane. This entry will be something such as "MyBody + Bold," indicating that the document now contains at least one instance of this deviation from the standard MyBody style.

In this example, the new style is linked to MyBody, because it modifies it in its character attribute of Bold.

You may also create new styles based-on, or in Word terminology linked-to, an existing style.

You cannot convert a non-linked style to linked, for the simple reason that a linked style must be based on some basic style, original or modified. Word just doesn't know how to handle such a modification, it is perhaps just not implemented, so is disallowed in the dialog.

Since you are looking to having your own styles in all (or many) documents, a better mechanism might be the template. You can always modify the default template, normal.dotm, and that is fine as long you only have one default document style on the computer. It will cause problems when exporting the document to other computers. Having your own templates for the different types of documents is a safer methodology, although it creates its own complications.

The template is a special Word document, built-from and based-on an existing template. You create one via File > New, choose a suitable template, or "Blank document" for Normal.dotm, change the styles to suit your needs, then File > Save As under some descriptive name in C:\Users\<your username>\Documents\Custom Office Templates. Choose the document type as either Word Template (*.dotx) or Word Macro-Enabled Template (*.dotm).

A template can be used to create a new document, but can also be attached to an existing document via the ribbon pane Developer > Document Template. If the Developer pane is not displayed, go to File > Options > Customize Ribbon, select the Developer check-box and click OK.

For more information see:

  • Thanks. I know about creating a template, but it's obviously more efficient to charge the Style type of normal.dotm, rather than picking the new template that I created whenever I open a Word document. 1. So I still don't understand the answer to my titled question. – Greek - Area 51 Proposal Aug 1 at 5:32
  • 2. 'a linked style must be based on some basic style, original or modified' Doesn't 'Linked' mean simply paragraph + character? – Greek - Area 51 Proposal Aug 1 at 5:32
  • 3. 'Since the Normal style is the basis for many other styles, it cannot be changed to anything else, but it can be modified'. What does 'modified' mean? I'm baffled as the previous sentence is "it cannot be changed to anything else`. – Greek - Area 51 Proposal Aug 1 at 5:33
  • Can you please respond in, by editing, your answer? Comment chains are cumbersome to read. – Greek - Area 51 Proposal Aug 1 at 5:34
  • I tried to clarify the situation. The confusion comes perhaps from the old terminology used in Word, which is after all an old product dating from 1983. – harrymc Aug 1 at 7:44

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