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| Page updated Nov 23, 2020
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How to set default formatting for new documents: A step-by-step guide
Some related pages -
Before you begin
The <WordPerfect> menu must be enabled for the following menu choices to be visible (right-click on the menu bar to choose a <WordPerfect> menu).Contents
• Method 1 is for making quick and easy changes to default formatting for new blank documents
• Related tips for Method 1
• Method 2 is for moderate-to-extensive changes for new blank documents, and for creating new documents based on custom templates [links to another Toolbox page]
This 4-step method is best used for relatively minor formatting changes (examples given below).
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.
now have 3 choices.
[c] ... or click on Format, Styles, [Available styles:]DocumentStyle, Edit. [This choice is just an alternative to step 1[a] above.]
Any of these methods will open the Styles Editor dialog for the current document style (also called the "initial document style") as shown in Step 3.
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.]
IMPORTANT: To save the modifications you made in Step 3 for future use in new documents, be
sure to  enable (i.e., tick) the checkbox at the bottom of the Styles Editor (below),
"Use as default," click OK, then  answer Yes to the confirmation message that pops up [screen shot].
The changes you make in the Styles Editor 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.
Note also that this checkbox option's setting applies to the Styles Editor for all open documents (even new blank ones) and is "sticky" between WordPerfect sessions: If you enable it is will stay enabled until you disable it.
☼ Why you might want to disable (clear) the "Use as default" checkbox.
As noted above this option is a "sticky" setting between program sessions so if it is enabled it will stay enabled (ticked) until you manually disable (clear) it. Similarly it is disabled it will stay that way until you enable it again.
Assuming that setting is enabled (as in the image above), recent versions of WordPerfect will display a message (as noted above) to let you confirm (or deny) using any changes that you make in the Styles Editor as your preferred defaults for new documents:
Clicking Yes will confirm using your changed Document Style for all new documents based on the default template.
Clicking No (or "X" in the title bar) will retain the changed style for the current document only. This has the same effect as if the "Use as default" checkbox was set "off" (and no confirmation message appeared).
Also remember that the state of the "Use as default" checkbox in the Styles Editor above — enabled ("on") or disabled ("off") — will apply to all opened documents, even new blank ones. "Sticky" means sticky, after all.
In earlier versions of WordPerfect, before the above pop-up message was implemented, the following recommendation was offered on this site — which might still apply to you if you don't see the above message dialog or just want to ensure the default state of "Use as default" is set "off":
"... If you want to make changes (Step 3) to only the current document's initial Open Style — perhaps to set overall custom page margins, or use a specific font for the majority of text — you should disable (clear) this checkbox before clicking OK in the Styles Editor. Otherwise those changes will also be saved into the default template. (You can always reverse them by using the same steps above, but prevention is a better strategy.)
Turning this option off as your preferred setting should help avoid unwanted effects in new (default template-based) documents because of changes that were meant only for the currently open document."
☼ You might not even need to use the method above.
Instead of using the above steps 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).
☼ Changes made with the method above 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 body of the document. 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 (superseding) the settings you made in the "upstream" Styles Editor.
☼ Changes made this way might be ignored by the program (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 an existing format code from the body text area of any open document (using a Shift+ArrowKey helps make an accurate selection in the Reveal Codes window),
▸ copy it to the Windows clipboard (Ctrl+C), and then
▸ paste it (Ctrl+V) into the Contents pane of the Styles Editor.
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 of this is setting custom tabs. (See "Tab settings in WordPerfect" here.)
This method also "hides" the format code inside the initial Open Style code to help keep it from being accidentally deleted or moved if it were located (as usual) 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 (now-hidden) 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.