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OpenOffice Writer User Guide
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Why use character styles?

Beginning OOo users often wonder, “Why use character styles?†or “How is this different from pressing the bold icon to change the font typeface?â€. The following real life event illustrates the difference.


Character styles do not have as many options as paragraph styles or page styles. Their benefits are of a different nature:

  • Formatting changes
    As Jean’s story illustrates, the ability to make formatting changes throughout a document can be important. Character styles provide this.

  • Consistency
    Character styles help ensure that typesetting guidelines are applied consistently.

  • Focus on content
    “Was I supposed to bold keystrokes? How about menus?â€
    A writer shouldn’t have to remember the answers to these questions. Typesetting details distract you from the real content of your work. A properly named custom character style (such as OOoKeyStroke or OOoMenuPath) will remove this burden from you.

Other ways of using character styles are described elsewhere in the Writer Guide. These uses include making chapter numbers, page numbers, or list numbers larger than the surrounding text and formatting hyperlinks.

OpenOffice Writer User Guide
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