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Building off of my last Behind the Curtain post, this post will dig into the "other 20%" and specifically answer the following three questions on Styles:
We've got a lot to cover, so let's jump right in.
In all previous versions of Word the Document Defaults were hardcoded into Word. That is, you couldn't change them. This means that the way you would change the default properties applied to your documents would either be to change the Styles within the Template used to create the document, or to write a macro that went through all documents and updated the properties defined by the Normal Style (the paragraph Style applied to text by default).
In Word 2007, you can certainly still do the former, but should know the following before you do the later:
By default, the Normal Style is empty
Put differently, all of your Normal properties are being specified by Styles further up the hierarchy; specifically, the Document Default and Table Styles.
To literally show you exactly what I'm talking about, here is the XML that makes-up the Normal Style and Document Defaults in Word 2007 [please see the Appendix to learn how to look at the XML that makes up Word documents]:
This doesn't mean you can't specify properties for normal text in the Normal Style. It just means that we don't by default.
We don't define any properties in the Normal Style for one major reason:
Generally, Normal text outside of tables should be spaced differently from Normal text inside of tables
…and leaving Normal empty allows us to do this. Let me explain how:
On to question two…
Style Sets only do two things:
They do the first to allow you to quickly change the look of your whole document. They do the second to make sure that the change will be the same every time. The Fancy Style Set is Fancy and will always be Fancy for all documents on all computers since we level the base that Fancy is built on every time we apply it (i.e. we reset the Document Defaults).
Exercise: Do the experiment in my last post where you change your Document Defaults. Notice that the Styles in your Style Gallery that inherit properties from the Document Defaults also change. That's because the base they are built up on changed.
Now, pick another in-box Style Set. Note that the new default properties you defined are not applied to the new Style Set. That's because applying the Style Set reset your Document Defaults to make sure that it looks the same every time you use it.
Style Sets only do these two things. Style Sets are not "in" your document. Your document does not "have" a Style Set. There is not a two-way connection between the Styles in your document and the Style Set. The Style Set simply tells the Styles Gallery what Styles to display and ensures they look the same every time.
Note: The literal Styles specified by a given Style Set are persisted in the document.
Exercise: You can test this for yourself by applying a Style Set, saving, and closing Word. When you reopen you will note that the Styles gallery has the same Styles in it, but that the Style Set is not selected in the Style Set menu.
Given this design, if you want to do more than apply in-box Style Sets, your best bet is to create new ones rather than modifying existing ones. To do this:
This will create a new Style Set at C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\QuickStyles (assuming that you are using Vista) and will be available for all documents for the given user on the given computer.
Exercise: Open a blank document. Create a new Style Set. Apply your new Style Set to the document. Save the document. Email the document to yourself on another computer. Open the document on that other computer.
Note that the Styles Gallery looks the same but that your new Style Set is not in the list of Quick Styles. As you now know, this is because Style Sets simply tell the Styles Gallery what Styles to display. The Style Set is not "in" your document.
You'll also note that this scenario is a great example of why we do this. If we added new Style Set to your list every time you opened a document with a custom Style Set, the list could quickly become unmanageable.
Also, keep in mind that if you save a selection as a custom Quick Style, your custom Quick Style will still be available in the Styles Gallery even if you change your Style Set.
I saved the simplest for last. Themes are simply a new level of abstraction available to Styles. Specifically, Themes let you uses variables instead of constants when you specify the properties within a Style. For example, let's say I'm creating a new Style called "Tea," and I want to specify the color property.
With the introduction of Themes I have two choices:
If I choose the former, Tea's color won't be affected when I change the Theme of my document. If I choose the later, Tea's color will be affected when I change the Theme of my document. This comes in handy when you want to make a compelling and consistent change to the overall look and feel of your document in a few clicks.
It's not quite as easy as 1, 2, 3, but hopefully it helps.
If you'd like details on Word's file format please see Brian Jones' blog. If you want to look at the XML that makes-up Word documents:
Open the .zip file and open each of the respective XML files
Did you ever find out how to set the document defaults for font/paragraph with VBA?