Is it possible for text to have multiple styles concurrently in Microsoft Word?

For example, I'd like to have one style for emphasis (e.g. bolded text), and another style for what I call "special notes" (e.g. italics).

I'd like to be able to style emphasized words within special notes using e.g. bold and italics; but I don't want to simply apply one style and then put additional formatting on top of specific instances, because I wanted the styles to be semantic (like best-practice CSS classes) and I want to be able to switch out the specific visual properties for all text of each style at will.

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    Are you asking if 1) two Styles can be applied to a single text selection, or 2) if a Style can be applied to a selection, followed by another formatting option such as Bold? At first it seems you're asking the first, but your request, "I'd like to be able to style emphasized words...using e.g. bold and italics" muddies the water by implying you're not sure if bold and italics can apply to a single selection. – Twisty Impersonator Apr 8 '18 at 16:42
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    I meant the first -- I was trying to use Word's styles like CSS classes, such that I wanted to define a style for "emphasis" that would just include bold, and a style for "special note" that would just include italicization, with the ability to style one piece of text with both of those if it happened to be semantically appropriate. I didn't want to manually apply either bolding or italics on top of something which already had a style per se, because I wanted the styles to be semantic and I wanted to be able to switch out the specific properties for all text of that style at will – echristopherson Apr 9 '18 at 14:18
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    It would be helpful to edit your question to clarify that you want the formatting of the several applied styles to be aggregated rather than each one overwrite the settings of the last style. – Twisty Impersonator Apr 9 '18 at 14:22

I'm not sure what you exactly mean but if you are asking how to do multiple styles in a sentence then select the words you want and apply the style bearing in mind the Paragraph mark stores style information and joining lines or changing the Paragraph mark will change the styles.

Edit Someone gave me enough rep to post the image, which isn't a link :)

Multiple Styles

Normal is Normal Style, I rename them when I'm working with them so I can find the ones I want :)

Bold is A Sub Head

Italic is A SubHb3

Bearing in mind any change to the end Paragraph mark will ruin your day I'd suggest if you need multiple styles in a paragraph using a table to break them up,

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    Post a link to the image, and we can convert it to an image. – gparyani Mar 3 '14 at 23:46
  • Steve, that does add to my knowledge, so thanks. But the styles I'm concerned with only involve color and normal/bold/italics; no line/paragraph-related formatting. – echristopherson Mar 4 '14 at 3:08
  • Everything in word is line / paragraph related :) The number of times I've selected the wrong thing and ruined an hopurs editing is to many to count which is why I put the warning . – Steve Mar 4 '14 at 3:12

MS Word has both paragraph and font styles, and it also uses widely-accepted conventions for basic naming, such as using common names on the order of Heading1 and Heading2 for -- obviously -- headings.

One easy fix for your query is to use the default Emphasis font style for the selected text, which applies Italics, then apply Bold from the Header menu.

There is also a default style that applies Bold Italics and color change. IMO, that's overkill, but it may suit your purpose. If not, you can select Intense Emphasis in the Styles menu, click the underlined "a" character to display the pull-down menu, and select Modify Style. This brings up a dialog box where you can format whatever characteristics you want. At this point, you can modify the existing font style or create a new one.

(This instruction works for paragraph styles, too, but that's not what you request in this query.)


This is not currently possible (as of Word 2016). The best we can do is to apply one style to each relevant piece of text, and then, as needed on different pieces, manually apply a format like bold or italics on top of that style.

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