Monday, February 17, 2014

Themes and Styles

New blogs will now include excerpts from my Computer training curriculum. I am starting with design tools Themes and Styles in Microsoft Word:

A Theme is an overall design for your document and it includes the following elements:
·         Color
·         Fonts
·         Styles
These days color is used more often in a document because we share electronically rather than through print. Even if you don’t use color you can really “dress up” a document using shades of black and white rather than just having everything black. A dark gray can be far more attractive and even less harsh on the eyes than a straight up black font color. These color variations impact many aspects of your document, more than you think. Color can be used not only for text but for borders, shading both in tables and for other objects you might insert like pictures or text boxes.

Fonts are another great way to “dress up” you document by creating some variation. A reader is very helpfully guided through your text when it is distinguished in some way, i.e. if you are using headings to identify sections of your document. By using different fonts for different “types” and you are consistent with the use of them, you can really help the reader identify the text as they read.

Styles are a great way to create this consistency. A style is a tool you can use to save the formatting for particular types of text in your document, so when that type of text comes up you can apply the style rather than having to set up the formatting repeatedly. Styles are automatically set up for you in a document that you can utilize and depending on the Theme you choose the Styles will be designed with that theme’s settings of colors and fonts. You can use these styles or set up your own or both. One important note about Styles: the Heading Styles that are set-up by Microsoft are linked to other tools that can be utilized in your document. Some of these are Reference Tools including Table of Contents and Index, another is the Navigation Pane which sets up links to these Heading Styles in a pane on the left side of your screen. So use the Heading Styles but modify them as you want them for your own document design.

A common question when working with formatting is how to “reset” the formatting when things seem to be varied and potentially “messed up.” You can select all of the text in a document and Clear the Formatting, this is one option, i.e. Ctrl+A (select All), then select the Clear Formatting Tool on the Ribbon (Home Tab Font Group). Another option is to apply the Normal Style to everything and go from there. The Normal Style will be the default Style for all text and paragraphs using the Theme settings you have chosen.

Styles can also be modified. When you apply the Styles from the Theme you have chosen you might like parts of the formatting but not all of it. You can modify the styles to your liking. We will be using the Styles Pane to modify our Styles because this pane has many options available and is very useful when utilizing Styles in your document.
In addition to modifying your existing styles you can create your own. Sometimes there is a need for a new and specific style for your document. When you create these new styles, they are, by default, for the document you are in, only. You can change this option in the Style dialogue box by selecting “New documents based on this template” which will then put the Style in the main style usage list.
Styles can be created by formatting the text first then creating a style BASED on that formatting OR you can create the style and choose the formatting in the dialogue box. Either method is useful because sometimes you are in a document and you realize that a particular paragraph formatting repeats itself in the document, so a Style seems prudent, other times you know exactly the styles you want and will need before you even start typing, so you create the Style first. 

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