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For example, what is the difference between using bold vs using the character style named Strong.

  • You can modify a style and all text with that style with automatically update to match the new style – cybernetic.nomad Nov 26 '18 at 17:33
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Here are a few of the practical advantages to using defined Character Style formatting versus Direct Formatting.

  • Use in Find/Replace searches, they can be more specific
  • Global updating of the character style where used
  • Use in numbered Headings where you want the Heading text to appear in the Table of Contents one way, and another way in the body of the document.
  • Eliminates risk of direct formatting being replaced accidentally when a template macro issues an Update All Styles command.
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I have found another advantage in addition to those pointed out by Rich Michaels:

A change in Paragraph Style will kill direct formatting that applies to more than 50% of a paragraph, but will leave a Character Style unhurt, even if it applies to the whole paragraph.

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