Using “Styles” in Word Processors

Oh my goodness, every writer who uses a word processor should learn how to use Styles, like, right now.

I recently learned it’s something you absolutely should be using if you’re going into self-publishing for reasons. But even if you’re not, they’re great. You can set one up so that it automatically indents every starting paragraph, so you don’t have to constantly hit “tab.” Better yet, you can set one up specifically for when your character is reading/writing emails, or text messages, or IM’s, or letters, or whatever else in your story. And instead of having to format within the text every time you’re writing one of those things, you can just type out the messages, highlight it, and with the click of a button, it’s formatted perfectly!

I use LibreOffice, but I imagine it’s similar in other word processors. But here are some handy screenshots to show how to make one.

First, go to “Styles,” and click “New Style.” A window will pop up, and you can type in whatever you want the style’s name to be.

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Then, go to the upper left corner and select it, then click it and select “Edit Style.

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A window should pop up giving you options upon options to choose. For what I’m doing, I’m just going to edit the spacing and make it so every new paragraph automatically indents, as seen in the below screenshot.

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But you can click all the little tabs and explore all your options, like font effects and outlines and alignments. Go nuts! And when you’re done, hit “okay” and select all the text you want to apply this style to. Go back to the upper corner to select that style, and your text should all change to it!

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You can make as many styles as you want! Here’s what my options for my online messages in my current WIP look like.

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Which makes the online messages look like this.

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And every time I need to write in an online message, I can just select the text, and go up top and select my “messages” style I made. No more wasting time fiddling with that tab key and return key. What’s great is that, if I ever decide I want to change how indented my messages are, or decide I want all of them bold instead of italicized, I can go back in and “edit” the style accordingly. No more combing through 200+ pages of text in search of messages to edit. It fixes them all at once!

If you’re still confused, or if whatever you’re using is much different than LibreOffice, then a quick Google search should help you out more. But I highly, highly recommend using these! My life is so much easier now.

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