Styles in Word - what you need to know about style merging when working with re-usable content blocks
Styles are an integral part of any Word document. There are different types of styles (character, paragraph, table, etc.) and some can not be deleted where others can.
In the context of reusable content blocks, like for instance when using the officeatwork Content Chooser to inserting a Word content, it is important to know the default behavior of Word when it comes to inserting content (Word file) into another document. So let's make some definitions first to better understand the process.
- Source Content: We will be talking about 'Source Content' to refer to the content block you want to insert into an existing document.
- Destination Document: This is the file you will insert the content block into.
Style merging scenarios
The style used in the Source Content does NOT exist in the Destination Document
In this case, the content you inserted into the document should look exactly as you defined it in the Source Content. Exceptions would only be if base styles that your styles in the Source Content are built on are defined differently in the Destination Document for attributes you did not set in the styles of your Source Content.
For example, you defined a style called 'Hellow World' in your Source Content that is based on the Normal style and you did not set the font typeface. The typeface defined in the Normal style of your Source Content is Helvetica. The Destination Document's Normal style is defined as Courier. In this case, your inserted content will appear with Courier typeface as you did not define the typeface in your 'Hellow World' style in your Source Content.
The style used in the Source Content exists in the Destination Document
In this case, word will apply the styles defined in the Destination Document to the Source Content when inserted into the Destination Document. Be aware that if the formatting was applied to parts of your Source Content that are not part of the style defined in the Source Content, that those formatting settings will be carried over with the content into the Destination Document.
For example, if you have defined a style called 'Hello World' in the Source Content and the Destination Document, and a paragraph in your Source Content is formatted with that style but has additional formatting like bold, it will carry across the bold formatting for that paragraph into the Destination Document. Be aware that if you defined your 'Hello World' style in your Source Content to use the 'Helvetic' typeface but in your Destination Document the typeface for the 'Hello World' style is defined as 'Courier', all elements in your Source Content that have the 'Hello World' style applied will appear in 'Courier' typeface when inserted into your Destination Document.
In general, we recommend using styles wherever possible. We do not recommend to add additional formatting to any Word object in any other way than via styles (whenever possible). This will give you the flexibility of reusing content across different Destination Documents that have might even have the same styles implemented with different settings like a different typeface.