How to Use "Styles" for Headings
Using Word's styles for headings make a big difference in helping your document meet accessibility standards. Headings organize a document so that people can find the content they need or understand how a document is laid out. Using styles for headings helps screen readers and assistive technology recognize headings.
Heading styles are retained when converting to a PDF in order to create bookmarks for the document. These can be used by all to navigate the document in a clean and concise manner.
You can update the heading styles on your own document. Alternatively, you can use the Microsoft Word templates (standard or manuscript options) created by the Graduate School, which already have the heading styles pre-formatted for you. Using the styles will automatically do the correct title/heading spacing as well.
Styles Included in the Current Grad School Templates
The Graduate School's current templates include the following styles:
- Front Matter Title. The four title styles are formatted exactly the same. The difference between these styles is how they are programmed to appear in the automatic Table of Contents (TOC). The Front Matter Title style is programmed to not appear in the TOC.
- Chapter Title. The Chapter Title style is programmed to appear in and be numbered in the TOC.
- End Matter Title. The End Matter Title style is programmed to appear in the TOC, but not to be numbered.
- Appendix Title. The Appendix Title style is programmed to appear in the TOC and be indented.
- First Level Heading.
- Second Level Heading.
- Third Level Heading.
- Normal Paragraph Text. This style is NOT required for your document to be accessible. It is most likely that you will not be using any style on your normal text/body paragraphs.
- Table's Caption Above [or Below]. These are both programmed to appear in the List of Tables; however, students should note that they should only be using ONE of these two styles. All tables need to consistently have their captions above [or below] the table.
- Figures Caption Above [or Below]. These are both programmed to appear in the List of Figures; however, students should note that they should only be using ONE of these two styles. All figures need to consistently have their captions above [or below] the figure.
- Long Quote.
How to Use Styles in the Template
- Download the appropriate template from the standard option or manuscript option formatting information pages.
- Fill in all of the front matter with the appropriate information (title page, abstract, acknowledgments, etc.)
- Delete any extra information/instructions in the body of the template that you are not using.
- Copy and paste your work into the template, making sure to "Keep Text Only" while pasting.
- To use headings in Word, one-by-one, highlight text and then apply the appropriate heading style from the Home tab. This will also format the spacing for you. (The Third Level Heading styles require an extra step, since they are in line with the rest of the paragraph. Check out our instructions for third level heading styles.)
- You can also use the Styles to help format long quotes and table/figure captions from above and below.
Pro Tip: To insert a new page, such as when you want to start a new chapter, click "Ctrl" + "Enter." This also works really well when you want to ensure that your content begins on a new page, even when changing upstream content.
Video on How to Use the Template
Note: For a transcript of the video, visit the ETD Accessibility and Template Video with Transcript page.
How to Use Styles without the Template
You can update styles in your own source document, or if you are using an older version of the template, as well. Use the following directions as a guide, or review Microsoft's Style information.
- Correctly format your headings according to the formatting guidelines. See the standard option or manuscript option sample pages on what the headings should look like.
- Highlight a heading, and then right click the appropriate Style, and choose "Update Heading to Match Selection."
- We found that it works best to closely match the names of the headings to existing styles in Word, because Word keeps both names listed. For example, it is best to use the pre-formatted "Heading 1" in Word to set up your own first level heading style.
- Apply the appropriate Style to all of the chapter titles and headings in your ETD.
Saving your PDF with Bookmarks
Be sure to save your Word document so that it retains bookmarks as a PDF. Vising our instructions on how to save your document as a PDF.
For a quick overview of how to improve heading accessibility, please view this short tutorial by Microsoft on using heading styles.