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How to set default formatting for new documents: A step-by-step guide
Some related pages -
Before you begin
• Method 1 is for making quick and easy changes to default formatting for new blank documents
• Related tips (Method 1)
• Method 2 is for moderate-to-extensive changes for new blank documents, and for creating new documents based on custom templates
[This method is best used for minor formatting changes. For moderate to extensive changes, see Method 2.]
Step 1. Open a
new, blank document with File, New. While this step is not strictly necessary, it helps to isolate the task from other things you might be working on.
Either method will open the Styles Editor dialog for the current document style (also called the "initial document style") as shown in Step 3.
Step 3. Make
your format changes in the Styles Editor (shown below) using that
dialog's menu and/or property bar at the top of the dialog. [Note: A slightly more advanced -- and easy -- method is to copy and paste the format code from any document into the Contents pane, as noted in the tip below.
But for now please follow the basic method in the next paragraphs.
This, too, is easy and might be best for some format defaults.]
Step 4. IMPORTANT: Be sure to enable (i.e., tick) the checkbox at the bottom of the dialog, "Use as default," and click OK, then answer Yes to the confirmation dialog that pops up [screen shot]. The changes will affect both the current document and the default template that is specified in Tools, Settings, Files, Template. Since the latter "spawns" new blank documents when you use File, New, the changes will be inherited by those new documents.
☼ Why you might want to disable the "Use as default" checkbox.
There are two reasons for this suggested step:
In Method 1 above you are changing the current
document's format settings in its initial style
code AND you are saving the changes to the default template (in Step 4 above).
[a] change just the current document's formatting (Step 3), then
[b] clear (un-tick) the "Use as default" checkbox BEFORE clicking OK.
That way, your changes will apply to the current document only; they won't be saved to the template and affect new documents.
 You might want to ensure you DON'T make future accidental changes to NEW DOCUMENTS.
After you close
the Styles Editor (Step 4) and test the current document
with your new changes you might want to go back later and clear
(un-tick) the "Use as default"
checkbox to prevent future unwanted changes to the
default template when using the method above. (This can be easy to do
accidentally if you don't notice the state of that checkbox in Step 3.)
Hence, if all you might want to do in future sessions is change the current document's formatting (using Step 3) and NOT make further changes to any newly created (i.e., template based) documents, just -
[a] open the Styles Editor again (Step 1);
That way, any new changes you might make in that Styles Editor will apply to the current document only; they won't be saved to the template and affect new documents.
In either of the above tips just clear that checkbox to tell WordPerfect not to save any changes made in that Styles Editor to the template.
[Incidentally, you should not see the confirmation dialog (Step 4) when
you simply clear the checkbox. It should only appear when you have made
changes and enabled that checkbox.] Then click OK to exit from the Styles Editor.
☼ You might not need to use the method above.
Instead of using the above method you can, of course, simply change the formatting
for just the current document directly,
in the body text area of the
document (usually at the top of the document's body text area). There is no
need to use the Styles Editor to modify the initial style code for a
single document – though it has the advantage of "hiding" your new
formatting inside the initial style code. But you probably would want to use the method to set some defaults in the template for all new documents based on the template.
☼ Changes made this way can be superseded.
Changes made in the
Styles Editor for the initial [Open Style: DocumentStyle]
code can be discontinued or replaced (i.e., "over-ridden") with another,
similar format code further down in the document itself. This is by design, and is the power of WordPerfect's "stream" formatting.
So if you make changes in the Styles Editor and they do not appear in the current document, use Reveal Codes to examine the main document for codes that might be over-riding the settings you made in the Styles Editor.
☼ Changes made this way can be ignored (a special case).
For arcane (and not well understood) reasons, if you start (i.e., create) a new WordPerfect document from Windows (e.g., by right-clicking on the Windows desktop or Windows Explorer and then selecting New, WordPerfect document) rather than from WordPerfect's File, New menu, it will create the new document based on a separate, relatively hidden file (e.g., named wordperfect.wpd in recent versions). This separate program file only acts like a template to "spawn" a new empty document: The [Open Style: DocumentStyle] code will be missing from it -- as will your new default document settings (though it should not impact that document). (For more see Footnote 4 one the Templates page.)
You can use Reveal Codes to
▸ carefully select
format code from the body text area of any open document (using a
Shift+ArrowKey helps make an accurate selection in the Reveal Codes
• Back up the document (and the template, if you are saving the change as a default setting) before making advanced customizations like this one.
• The change will affect the current document (and new
blank documents, if you enable "Use as default").
• This method is useful for some formatting that is difficult to create (or edit) from inside the Styles Editor. A common example is setting custom tabs. (See Tab settings in WordPerfect here.)
• Important: This method also "hides" the code
to help keep it from being accidentally deleted or moved in the body text area of the document. Just
remember this trick if you ever need to restore or modify the formatting controlled by that code! Further,
if you need to change that code you might have to cut it from the
Styles Editor, paste it into another document (e.g., a new blank
document), edit the formatting there, then select and copy that code
back into the original Styles Editor. For
an example see Hide a [Delay] code.
• In Method 1 you saved your relatively simple changes to the default template. For
moderate to extensive changes to that template you can edit it directly:
• If you don't want to change the default template, you can create one or more custom templates
for special purposes:
If you need to set up a customized
template without affecting the
default template [which is used to create all your new
blank (i.e., default) documents], see Custom templates.
If the [Open Style: DocumentStyle] code is missing in Reveal Codes (at the very top of the document's body text area), it might be due to the way you opened the document. See the Footnote 4 on the Templates page.