Using Custom Paragraph Styles in Google Docs (video)

In a previous post, I discussed how to use paragraph styles to create a table of contents in Google Docs. If you look through the paragraphs styles, though, you’ll see that all the default styles are just variations of the Arial font family. That’s no fun at all. We need a little pizzazz, a little more visual appeal. So what do we do? Create our own custom ones, of course! Here’s how:

Customize your font settings first

Before you set your custom styles, you need to figure out what you want them to look like. Think about the different styles you’ll need for your document. You can customize all of the styles in the menu: Normal text, Title, Subtitle, and several Headings.

Customize font.gif

Highlight any text in the document. Choose your font family, size, bold, italics, underlined, and alignment. Font family and size are the two key elements. Personally, I always leave the alignment to the left and center anything in the document itself.

Once you’ve got the look you want, you’re ready for the next step.

Update the paragraph style

Now that you’ve got your look ready, you’re going to update the paragraph style to match. While you still have the cursor on your new font settings, click the Paragraph Styles menu. It’s the box that usually says “Normal Text”. When you click the box, you’ll see all the Paragraph Style options.

Hover over the style that you’re customizing, and another menu will appear. Then, just click on “Update style to match”. Now you have a customized title or subtitle or heading.

Update Styles.gif

Repeat the same process for any other paragraph style.

Optional: Use styles as default

One last optional idea is to use these custom paragraph styles as default styles for any Google Doc. If you want to use these custom settings for all your Docs, go to the paragraph styles menu again and look at the bottom of the menu. You’ll find an options menu, then select “Save as my default styles”.

If at any time you feel like you’ve completely messed up, you can reset everything by going to options and clicking “Reset styles”.

Once you’ve connected a text to a paragraph style, the text will update any time you update the paragraph style. So if you go through and have all your headings as size 18 font but realize you want it at 16, all you have to do is update the paragraph style, and every heading will update. Awesome!

Published by Lee Tucker

Lee Tucker is a high school English teacher who not only teaches literature and writing but also creates it himself. Lee is a huge fan of fantasy and science fiction, video games, comic books, and all things nerdy.

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