How do I use style sheets in MS Word 2003?

I am trying to submit somthing to a magazine. Unfortunately, I don’t know how to use the style sheets they have for Word. It just seems to be a document. I searched the help, and found something caled cascading style sheets, but this doesn’t seem to help me much.

I tried a bit of an experiment. When I loaded the style sheet into a pre-existing document, it created a whole new file. I have no idea what this means.

MS Word does not nor has ever supported CSS. CSS is a language that is used along side, PHP, HTML, XML and others. These are web protocols that are used to create output to a web client, like FireFox, Internet explorer, Netscape Navigatory.

All CSS does is define tags created in an HTML file.

These MS word “Cascading Style Sheets” may be something different. Even if you heard that Word can generate Style Sheets, stay away from anything Microsoft, even if it is Frontpage.

Aske the magazine for exactly the definition of style sheets they are asking for. What is it exactly you are submitting to a Magazine? I hardly think it has to do with anything with CSS.

If you are submitting a website to them, and they are asking for a stylesheet, it’s sounds a a bit flaky.

No, they want a document. They provided something called a “style sheet”. It implicitly contains three peices of information:

Use the standard margins, Verdana 9 pt font, and zoom 150%; this was how they set up the document. This is listed as Style Sheet for MS Word.

However, I then started checking and found that MS word has Cascading Style Sheets which seem to output things in a different format. Although I don’t think I need to do that, I’m curious as to what it actually does.

Are these 1920’s style sheets by chance?

Word does use styles, which aren’t the same as cascading style sheets. If you look at the menu bar, to the left of the formatting bar, you’ll probably see the word “Normal.” That’s the normal (i.e., default) style for that document. If you click on the Two letter A’s to the left of that, you can see the styles for that document.

You can then edit the styles.

In your case, open their document. Copy the text you want to use into it. There should be an option to use the new document’s styles. That will be a start. Then, go to the headings, etc. and click on the appropriate style from the dropdown list (where the “normal” originally was) or click on the AA’s and choose it from the list of styles.

Style sheets are both powerful and tricky. I’ve been using them for a long time, so they’re second nature. Not sure how to bring you up the curve quickly and painlessly, but have a few tips.

For starters, click Format - Styles & Formatting. This will open the part of the style sheet they really care about. It’s a collection of assigned format characteristics, mostly at the paragraph level. So, there will be one format for reguar text, another for block quotations, several for various levels of headings, etc. You can assign these formats to text in several ways, but the simplest is to have your cursor in the target paragraph, then click on the desired style sheet format. Character formats (italics, bold, etc.) are assigned by selecting the target text, then clicking the desired format.

Another trick. Open the style sheet. Go to the Print dialogue. Go to “Print what?” There’s a drop-down that includes Styles as an opton. Print that and you’ll have hard copy to review, so you can get a sense of what the style sheet can do. This also will tell you whether shortcut keys (basically, macros) have been assigned, which makes formatting easier and faster.

One last tip. The fundamental philosophy of style formatting (as distinguished from direct formatting) is that ALL formats get assigned from the style sheet. Since this magazine requires you to use its style sheet, one of the things they are expecting is that you will not use direct formatting. Whether this is reasonable or not can be debated. For your purposes, though, it doesn’t matter. You’re submitting something. Play by their rules.

BTW, don’t worry too much about cascading style sheets. It’s simply the method by which Word resolves conflicting instructions among multiple style sheets. Since you’re only dealing with one, not an issue. (Technically, you’re using two, but since you’ve probably done little or nothing to modify your Normal style sheet, it’s not going to be an issue.)

For more info, try the Help system. Not great, I admit, but someting.

Hope that helps. And good luck.

I think I got it now. I formatted with their style sheets. Sadly, they have multiple styles and no clear instructions on when to use each one, so I’ll have to muddle through or see if I can’t scrounge up a new copy of their magazine.

Word “style sheets” are more appropriately referred to as templates, and carry the .DOT file extension (instead of the .DOC file extension you’re used to for regular documents). As PBear42 stated, templates hold information and instructions used for formatting documents. Most important among these instructions are generally the paragraph styles that are used to make a heading or subheading look different from a plain paragraph, which differs from a numbered step, which differs from a bulleted item, and so on.

In theory, writers would title the styles they use with self apparent names, so you’d pretty much know by looking what style to use for a given item. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem as though this magazine did. You might be able to get a better idea of how the style functions, however, by taking a look at its definition. Barring that, could you get a previously published article from them, in Word format and using their template, to see how it works?

You can attach templates to documents after creating them, but the easiest way to attach a template to a new document is to simply double-click the .DOT file - Word will automatically create a new .DOC file from the template and associate the template with that new file, so you’ll use the template’s styles and formatting from the outset. You may have to delete some existing text when you go this route, but that’s easy.

Glad to have been able to help. Another tip, especially useful for editing. If you haven’t already, go to Tools - Options - View. At the bottom-right of the dialogue is something called “style area width.” Out-of-the-box, that’s set to zero. Increase to at least one inch. (How wide is optimal depends on several factors, including the length of the style names; I use 1.2".) Now, when working on the document, you will see at a glance what styles have been assigned to each paragraph. (Unfortunately, there’s no similar display utility for character styles, though they can be searched for with Find just like text characters.)

As for what these things are called, Snickers is right that they are now called templates. For example, if you want to add one to an existing document, you go to Tools - Templates & Add-ins. But they used to be called style sheets (back in the good ol’ DOS days), so many people use the terms interchangably. Nowadays, styles are only one component of a template, which also will include document formatting characteristics (margins, columns, etc.) and can include macros.