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This question is about the "Style Gallery" that appears under the "Format Text" tab when composing an email. I want to customize this but the changes I made don't seem to persist.

The style gallery has a large collection of styles that are useless to me. When it comes to styles of text that I want basically two options: normal, and "code". When pasting code into my emails I want it to appear formatted similar to how github or other code-centric sites would display a markdown code block, i.e. with a different background colour, monospace font, and word wrapping disabled. I want to take the time to set this up once and only once in the style gallery (as opposed to highlighting and custom formatting the text each time) so that all of my emails have a consistent styling for code.

So what I want to do is remove all of the existing styles except "normal" and create my own custom "code" style. I have succeeded in doing this once in Outlook 2007, but it was difficult, and when my settings were erased I could never figure out how to do it again.

Removing styles from the style gallery is straightforward (right click on style, "remove from style gallery"), but the frustrating this is that the changes don't persist. As soon as I close the email composition window and open a new one, I'm back to the original set of styles again.

This seems like a terrible user interface design and I have wasted a lot of time messing around with settings in here only to have the changes vanish in to the ether. I'm not sure why anyone would want to take the time to change a menu of available styles for it only to last until the one composition window is closed. It would make a lot more sense if they style gallery changes persisted by default.

I don't think this question is specific to any particular version of Outlook. I had been using Outlook 2007 and had this issue, and I upgraded to 2019, naturally assuming that this would have been one of the first things that they fixed because it's such a terrible UI. But to my utter dismay, it appears to work exactly as unintuitively as it always has.

How do I get Style Gallery Changes to stick?

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I'll answer my own questions since after 20 minutes with my IT guy over my shoulder fumbling around and we were able to stumble upon the answer.

Saving Changes to Style Gallery

  • Make changes to the styles in the in the Gallery in a message composition window
  • Click the Change Styles dropdown menu item under Format Text --> Styles
  • Set as Default and confirm that you want to use the current style set as the default

Creating and Saving a New Style

  • Enter some text in the message and apply some formatting (e.g. change font and font size) -- you will also be able to adjust this later in your style
  • Select and right-click the text that you want to copy the style from
  • Choose the Styles menu in the context popup
  • Choose Create a Style
  • Give the new style a name
  • style appears in the gallery
  • right click and Modify to change more style settings
  • IMPORTANT: Format Text --> Styles --> Change Styles --> Set as Default, (as if it was not already obvious that you would want to save the style you just created for later use). If you forget this step, your style is a goner after closing the composition window!
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