[What are styles?]
Styles give your document structure and hierarchy by letting you format each level of text differently. For example, title text usually uses a more prominent style than a sub-heading does. Using the automated formatting of styles also keeps the spacing throughout your document consistent, since you're not manually adjusting the spacing in every section.
Here's the styles gallery. As you can see, each style is a distinct combination of font type, font size, font color, border design, alignment, and spacing—kind of like an outfit. A style lets you apply this entire "outfit" with just a few quick clicks, instead of manually changing the elements one by one.
If you're writing a formal report, chances are, you've got headings. Headings are like mini titles that section up your document so it's not just one running block of text. Applying styles also helps Word create a map of your document, which comes in handy when generating an automated table of contents.
[Applying styles to your headings]
Now that you have a better idea of what styles are, I'll show you how to apply styles to your headings. Here's an unformatted version of the document we were just looking at. First, you want to highlight the heading that you're applying styles to. Make sure you're in the Home tab of the ribbon. In the gallery of pre-made styles, select Heading 1. You'll see that your heading text now reflects the Heading 1 style. Do this for all the headings you wish to apply the Heading 1 style to.
[Modifying heading styles]
Let's say you want to customize the style of your heading. To do that, you'll have to modify the default style applied to your headings. In this document, my headings are marked with the Heading 1 style. So I'm going to right-click Heading 1, and select Modify. Now I can modify my style in any way I want.
I can change the font, as well as the font color. I can also make more advanced changes by clicking this Format button. For instance, if I don't want this huge spacing before each heading, I can adjust the spacing in Paragraph. 10 point spacing gives your heading a good amount of bordering space, so I'll go ahead and replace 24 with 10.
When you're done, just click OK. And that's it! All of your headings applied with the Heading 1 style automatically get updated to reflect the style changes you just made. So you can see now that my headings are in Arial Black instead of Cambria, and red instead of blue, as they were before.