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I've discovered another neat reason to use character styles instead of direct character formatting. We've already discussed the advantage of changing character formatting document-wide by just changing the style.

I've always used Ctrl-B for boldface and Ctrl-I for Italics in providing direct character formatting to my text. I didn't want to be bothered by character styles. But, on occasion, I want to clean up a document by removing direct paragraph formatting (Ctrl-M). When I do that, it clears *all* direct formatting, whether paragraph or character, so I end up losing all my bold and italics.

But, I've now learned to use the character styles Emphasis for Italics and Strong Emphasis for boldface instead of the direct bold and Italics commands. Then when I hit Ctrl-M to clean up formatting, then my boldface and Italics are preserved, because they are controlled by character styles rather than direct formatting.

This has been a major change in the way I've worked over the years, but I think as I get used to it, I'll really like it and the greater control I'll get over my work.

What's interesting is that this is the way LaTeX editors like LyX work by default. It's second nature in LyX, because that's the *only* way it works. But because of LO's open model (a billion ways of accomplishing the same task), I've had to adjust how I work with the office suite.


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