Changing the default style set in Word 2007

Word 2007 Document Icon If your company creates a lot of documents, forms, white-papers, etc it’s very handy to have a specific Word style set that matches the rest of your company branding so all your documents are consistent. In this post I will go through the steps on creating your own style set and deploying it through your organization using Word 2007. If you are using a different version of Word, the process will be very similar, but the clicks might be slightly different.

If you don’t know what styles are in Word, chances are you’re wasting a lot of time formatting your documents. Styles basically allow you to name certain types of text and apply that formatting over and over again. It also allows you to change the formatting of the style and it will apply it to all instances of that style throughout the document. Oh, and if you’re still creating headings by just increasing the font size and changing the color of normal text, then for the sake of anyone who has to edit your document in the future, learn to use the styles feature.

Creating your own style set in Word 2007

You can create your own style set in Word by simply modifying the normal styles and setting your new ones as the default. To modify the styles, simply download this document (.docx | .doc) which contains most of the different styles you’ll need to modify. To modify each style, simply right click on the style in the ribbon snd click modify.

Modify current style in Word 2007

Once you’ve modified all the styles and you’re happy with it, simply click the “Change Styles” button and select “Set as Default”. From now on each new document you create will have all those styles available by default.

Set default Style Set in Word 2007

Making sure everyone in your organization is using the same style set.

Now that you’ve got a nice style set to use, you’ll want to make sure everyone else in your organization is working from the same style. Simply send them a copy of the styles document that you created (based on the downloadable template above) and ask them to:

  1. Open the document and make sure they’re looking at the new styles
  2. Save the style as a new Quick Style Set by clicking Change Styles > Style Set > Save as Quick Style Set.... Choose a nice name for the style (e.g. Schoonzie) and from now on this style set will be available to apply to any Word document you open. Just click Change Styles > Style Set and choose the style set you just saved in the step above.
  3. Make that style the default style set that Word uses by clicking Change Style > Set as Default so each new document you open will use that style.

That’s it, you’re all done. If you’ve got some nice styles that you have created in Word, I’d love to see them, just email nick at schoonzie dot com.


I am a trainer who works mainly with law firms. I recently started doing Word 2007 trainings but am still having some trouble figuring out the interactions between (among) themes and styles. I understand in principle that using Change Style > Set as Default changes the default style set, but I was under the impression that the same command also sets the default theme. No? As far as I can tell, there is no command on the Themes drop-down that sets the default theme; from what I've read (and from my own tests), the default Theme is set by Change Style > Set as Default. If I am mistaken, I'd like to know how to set the default Theme. If I'm correct, I'd like to know more about the interplay between Themes and Styles.

I'd also like to know why Heading styles keep changing even when I am using the same template -- and I've checked the appropriate box or radio button to tell Word 2007 to save my modifications of Heading styles to that template. (I don't knowingly change Themes, either.) Getting my modifications to the Heading styles to "stick" is one of the biggest headaches I'm finding with this version of Word.

Thanks in advance for any insights you can offer.

Thanks for that. In the two-plus months since my original post, I figured it out.

For a full explanation of the way the style sets work -- and in particular, the default style set -- see Jan Berinstein's new book, "Formatting Legal Documents With Microsoft Office Word 2007," available on via this link:

The book contains lots of useful tips and tricks.