Word-Styling Oops

Well, I finally made a mistake that I really ought to have known better about, using Styles in Word 2003. I spent an hour last night deciding to add numbers to my headings for a particular document; it was quite long and I felt the numbering would help clarify the layout. I loaded the file this morning and Oops, where have my style changes gone?

The answer of course, is that Word now has the option of linking back to the base stylesheet. I actually didn’t know that, I think! In 2003, the option is available from the Tools | Templates and Add-ins… menu, and then the Templates tab:

The Word 2003 Templates dialog tab

So, there it is, the checked option “Automatically update document styles” – which the Help says will be done every time you open the document.

Now, I do agree that this is very useful functionality. Conceptually, we can add new styles if we want, but changes to the key Normal.dot template will get propagated to all documents that use it and have this option ticked. I’m sure I’ve written about Word not being able to do this before, so I was either wrong, or it was new to 2003 (forgive me, I only actually upgraded to 2003 last year!)

Except why didn’t Word stop me editing the styles that exist in Normal.dot in this instance, or at least provide some kind of warning that this might happen, on saving for example?

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