Word Styles - Custom Styles setup & txt formatted but shows as 'Normal' style

Occasional Contributor

I have an 80+ page word document that I set up for a client with TOCs and custom page numbering. I've setup custom styles to format all text and also setup Auto numbering for TOC sections and sub sections. This all worked great until recently where I noticed all the text that is formatted according to it's style, when selected, shows up as the NORMAL style. All other custom styles are listed, but all say 'No Data' under 'Select All:' when right clicking each style. All text is now under Normal but still formatted to it's custom style.

 

What is going on?

Is this a glitch?

Is it a known issue?

Can I fix it?

 

I've tried various 'fixes' from other Word Guru's but nothing works.

 

Also, I've tried naming each style descriptively, but it's still a pain trying to work out what style I've used on each paragraph to copy and paste it into a fresh document to reinstate the style. It's very confusing and frustrating. Any help would be appreciated as I have to update this file for the client asap.

17 Replies

Are you running Word for Windows or on some other platform? 

 

In Word for Windows, double-check how the document looks in the preview at File > Print. 

Hello @CDFFAB ,

First of all, you don't need to reinstate the styles by copy and paste. Import the styles from your original document (How to Import Styles from Other Documents in Word 2013 - dummies).

 

Now to your questions: from my experience and from what you described I have a feeling that someone else worked on it, perhaps using their own additional tools, like Litera, or copied the text using 'Paste Text only" or even just clicked removed all formatting. Without being there it is really difficult, but it is not a MS Word issue, but a user issue.

 

I hope the Import will make your life easier.

Hi Stefan,

The document looks fine on print. It looks fine on screen, it's just the styles even though they are there are not linked to their text. ALL text is linked to Normal style, but it's all formatted to it's original custom style. I can't get it to go back to it's former style when hilighting text.

Not sure if I've explained myself correctly.

Let's say I have 3 paragraphs. Par 1 is styled Heading 1. Par 2 is styled Heading 2. Par 3 is styled Heading 3 (and lets assume those 3 styles are custom styles I created).

When I open the document later. All 3 paragraphs are formatted to styles Heading 1, 2 & 3, but if you select the paragraph, Par 1 now hilights the Normal style (not Heading 1), Par 2 also hilights Normal, and so does Par 3. But all 3 paragraphs are formatted correctly. They are NOT formatted as Normal.

If you then go and right click on either style Heading 1, 2 or 3, it shows as 'Select All: (No Data)'. If you right click Normal style it now shows 'Select All 3 instance(s)'.

I've never seen this before and I or my client can now no longer update the document correctly.
Hi Lenka,

Yes the document has been worked on by multiple people (I've been told) but they all used PC's with latest version of O365 so we're all using the same version of word.

Thanks for the import link, but my issue is not importing, it's getting a working file again without having to cut and paste into a new document with existing styles.

This ones really got me scratching my head. I've been using word since it's inception (when office came on 22 x 3.5" floppies :) ) but I've never come across this issue.

@CDFFAB 

 

In other words, the appearance of each text paragraph is correct, but without the proper styles applied to text. It is as if someone has formatted each text paragraph one by one by applying the font, size, etc.? In Word terminology, this is called direct formatting (= formatting which is applied directly to text instead of being applied via one or more paragraph styles). Sometimes, you see this happening with content which has been pasted from external files/programs.

@Stefan_Blom 

 

>>In other words, the appearance of each text paragraph is correct, but without the proper styles applied to text.

 

Correct.

 

>>It is as if someone has formatted each text paragraph one by one by applying the font, size, etc.? In Word terminology, this is called direct formatting (= formatting which is applied directly to text instead of being applied via one or more paragraph styles).

 

Correct again, but nobody has done any direct formatting. I setup and formatted the file with custom styles so information could be added and styled easily. As far as I'm aware, nobody has tried to reformat anything. They have cut and pasted things from other files or from websites, but not done any custom formatting. They send it back to me to reformat.

 

>> Sometimes, you see this happening with content which has been pasted from external files/programs.

 

I've been dealing with clients for over 20 years that send me docs like this where they cut and pasted from external files/programs, but this has NEVER happened before which is why it has me stumped.

@CDFFAB ,

just what you typed confirms my suspicion. I've worked with Word since 1994 (Windows 3.11), just like you, and corrected many broken or unstyled documents - including some looking like the one you describe. Not an uncommon sight. I am nearly 100% sure that what you describe is due to users' improper use of Word's functions. I even have a suspicion someone might work on it using either a Word Perfect or Libre Office. It just strips the styles of their formatting.

 

Like you, we are left with fixing and restyling the documents again and again and again, just because people ignore some simple rules.

 

But, since you say the styles are still there, paragraphs are 'styled', but all the styles' attributes were stripped making them look like Normal, importing the styles from your original document should reapply the correct styles tributes to them.

 

You will be left with this work for as long as people will not adhere to a preferred way of working with MS Word and the template you created.

Just to add, if it is the other way round, my mistake - working on two things at the same time - that all text is Normal but with direct formatting, you are also in luck. Using Find and Replace's Style part will also make the fix a quick process.

We won't be able to help you, though, wit the 'why', as there are other users involved, and unless you find out exactly who used what, you may never know the source :(.
>>Using Find and Replace's Style part will also make the fix a quick process.

Tried this but all text is attached to the Normal style, so I can't find other styles. they're blank. If I search for Normal and replace with (eg) heading 1, the WHOLE document will be formatted as Heading 1 ;)
You need to be specific.
Find → Style, choose the attributes.
Replace → Style, choose the correct style.

For example:
Find → Style, Font: 14, Bold, Paragraph: Indent 0.25
Replace → Style Heading 1.

Etc.
That's the problem.

I can't choose the attributes under find. I can only choose the style from the list of styles. If I choose any style other than Normal, it doesn't find anything.

Because...

When right clicking styles in the ribbon, I have 'Select All 2558 instance(s)' when right clicking Normal, but all other styles say 'Select All: Not Currently Used' and is grayed out.

Like I said, I'm stumped.

@CDFFAB

Of course, you can, I just wrote you what you need to do.
Either you have all appearing as Normal but styles are underneath, then the Import will work.
Or, you have a document directly styled with Paragraph and Font attributes, and then the Find and Replacer will work.
 

Lenka_Kerumova_1-1651063389432.png

 

Lenka_Kerumova_2-1651063525704.png

 

 

@CDFFAB 

 

Upload a screen shot so that we can see what you see.

 

You could also share a sample document in Word format. 

I think I've worked out what @Lenka_Kerumova suggested. It's just going to be a bit tricky when it comes to the complex styles.

I can't really do a screen shot as the file is very confidential.

@CDFFAB 

 

A sample document, which illustrates the issue, would suffice. Nobody in the forum needs to see any confidential content, obviously. 

 

However, if you are saying that you have fixed the problem, that is good news. :)

@Stefan_Blom Here are 2 screen shots. Hopefully they make sense.

 

As you can see I've hilighted the line for a Revision Date. It's formatted correctly but it shows as Normal Style:

2022-04-28_12h22_40.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Instead it should be showing as the zRevisionDate Style, which currently shows as not being used (same as every other style except Normal):

2022-04-28_12h23_39.jpg

Thanks for the screen shots. They do clarify what you are seeing, but I don't have an explanation at this time.