As I wrote up a document with lots of headings, on different levels divided by Heading 1, Heading 2 and Heading 3, I initially was bothered by how after each Heading 1 and Heading 2, which I always followed by Heading 2 and Heading 3 (respectively), it automatically started a Normal paragraph. But at least it also followed Heading 3 with Normal, as well, as I wanted.

However, as I continued, it eventually started following Heading 3 with another Heading 3! I'm guessing that on one occasion, I accidentally changed the Normal paragraph which followed a Heading 3 to Heading 3 itself, and Word took that as proof that I want to make series of Heading 3 lines/paragraphs with nothing Normal in between. It is not changing this new rule despite my correcting the style each time I press Enter.

How can I make Word give the right (most likely wanted) style each time I press Enter?


Make sure the ribbon is on Home, go to the Styles part (I'm sure you're already there, since you've been correcting styles all this time), and right-click the style which you want to change the rules for. Click Modify in the list that appears, and for the fourth of the Properties, "Style for following paragraph", click the down button and select the style you actually want.

If it is already set to give the next paragraph the style you want, try changing it to something else, click OK, open the Modify Style window again, change it back to what you want, click OK, and see if it now behaves correctly.

If it still doesn't do as you anticipate, try saving, closing, and opening again; saving all open Word documents, closing them all, and opening again; or restarting the computer.


I think your answer is good. One other tip I find helpful is assigning shortcut keys to my styles. You can do this as follows:

First, use Modify Style to navigate to the "Shortcut key" dialog:Navigate to Shortcut Key dialog

Next, assign a shortcut key to your styles. I use [Alt + 1] for heading 1, [Alt + 2] for Heading 2, and so on, and use [Alt + n] for Normal.

Selecting shortcut key for styles.

  • While this is good information, it seems off-topic to the question. The key is the "style for following paragraph" setting. I, too, like to assign keyboard shortcuts to key styles, but that was not what was asked. – Charles Kenyon Jan 1 at 5:46
  • Well, here’s the issue, Charles. The style for the next paragraph is either going to be the one you specified in the style definition or it’s going to be another style (e.g., Heading 3). The style definition can’t read our minds - only one follow on style can be specified. That’s where the shortcut keys are very useful. – MAK Jan 3 at 0:08

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