Implementing good typography is often a chore and a bore. For everyone, not just for lawyers. Paragraph and character styles eliminate most of the drudgery.
Styles are the DNA of document layout. Styles make it easy to control typography across a single document. They also let you make templates that can be reused across multiple documents. The result is better, more consistent typography in every document with less work per document.
I find it curious that so many lawyers don’t know how to use styles. They format their documents the old-fashioned way: word by word and paragraph by paragraph.
Do you check your spelling by having a human being read your draft? No, you use an automated spelling checker. Do you copy a document by putting each page on the photocopier glass? No, you put the whole thing in the sheet feeder.
If you plan to have a long-term relationship with good typography, I recommend you learn how to use styles too.
Why you should care about styles
- Styles let you define sets of formatting attributes that get applied together. So instead of selecting a heading, changing it to 13 point, bold, and all caps, you can define a style that includes these three attributes, and apply the style to the heading.
- Styles let you change formatting across a class of related elements. Suppose you want to change your headings from 13 point to 13.5 point. Instead of selecting each heading separately and changing the point size — a tedious project — you can change the point size in the heading style definition from 13 point to 13.5 point. Headings using that style will be automatically updated.
- Styles can inherit formatting from other styles. A change to the parent style will propagate to all the substyles. But a change to the substyle will only affect that one style.