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Dave asked,

Are you implying that if I want to, say, indent one paragraph with no
other changes, I should create a new style for that?  Seems like a lot
of work since it can be done with one mouse clicks (or, if I ever get
around to learning how to create shortcut keys, one keystroke
combination) plus navigating to the paragraph.

Valid question. Your example demonstrates the tension between using styles and direct formatting. To make such a small change using styles would indeed be more work than using direct formatting. But, in my experience, too many users use that one paragraph as an illustration of why they don't want to learn or use styles at all. In order to keep from spending a few minutes to create a new style, they end up sentencing themselves to hours of unnecessary labor directly formatting paragraphs when they could be much more efficient with styles.

Obviously, that one change to that one paragraph isn't going to destroy your document, but small changes like that tend to multiply. Do it too many times in a document, and you will end up with formatting problems, such as remembering which paragraphs were formatted with styles and which were formatted directly. Also, let's say you make that one small change, and then later decide you want to change something more globally. That one directly formatted paragraph could get in the way of a later global change.

Also, don't get sucked in to comparing amounts of labor to perform a task. At first, the creation of a paragraph style *always* appears to take more work than direct formatting, which is why many users never cross the styles threshold. But, cross that threshold once, and you will save yourself mountains of labor later by using the styles it took you so much time to create in the first place.

Ideally, I will use styles for each and every paragraph in my documents. It provides formatting consistency, and I never have to remember which paragraphs I may have formatted directly. Yes, on occasion, I will spend more time formatting a single paragraph by creating a new style, but I consider that a one-off "cost of doing business" with styles, which will be more than offset by the hours I will save myself later by using styles throughout my documents. I also remember that I'll probably use that same paragraph format later in a different document, so having the style created and saved in my default template saves me more time later.


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