Why aren't changes to a style showing in my document text?

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Why aren't changes to a style showing in my document text?

Post by martin »

Editing a style usually updates your document's text:
Normally after you modify a style in your document's stylesheet, it is expected that all text marked in that style should update automatically to use the new formatting. For example, if you have a "Heading 1" paragraph style and change the font from Tahoma to Garamond, you would expect all headings in that style to immediately display in Garamond.

Why doesn't my text display using my style's formatting?
The most likely cause is that attribute overrides are applied to your text, also known as manually applied formatting. These override the formatting enforced by your styles. The term attribute simply refers to a specific kind of formatting, eg: a font size attribute, a text color attribute, etc. For the most part the terms formatting and attributes are interchangeable.

Attribute overrides allow you to control the appearance of your document's text independent from styles. Whenever you select some text in your document and apply some formatting, you're actually adding attribute overrides to that text.

For example, consider a paragraph marked with the "Normal" paragraph style. If you want to have a single word in that paragraph appear in bold, you would select it and choose the command "Bold". That command adds an attribute override to the selected text, so the single word displays in bold, while the rest of your paragraph's text continues to show in the regular font face enforced by Normal. If you later edit your Normal paragraph style (eg: to change the font to Helvetica), you would want that bolded word to stay bold; that's exactly how it works: the bold attribute override is left intact so it continues to override your style.

If you have these kinds of attribute overrides applied in your document, changes made to your styles may not become visible in the text. For example, consider a paragraph with several footnote references. At some point you select that whole paragraph and manually adjust the font size to be larger, say from 12pts to 14pts: that adds a font size attribute override. If you later edit your "Footnote Reference" character style to enforce a smaller font size, say to 11pts, you would not see a change in the aforementioned paragraph. Instead of showing as 11pts, you'd still see the footnote references using the 14pts font size attribute override.

How do I remove attribute overrides?
There are a variety of ways to remove attribute overrides that have been introduced in your document. The easiest is to select the text and choose one of the following menu commands:

Format > Remove Attributes Except Styles
Format > Remove Attributes and Styles

Both of these commands will strip all attribute overrides from the selection, while the latter also removes any applied styles.

If you'd like to remove just a particular attribute override, there are many menu commands that do so, eg:

Format > Font > Remove Font Attribute
Format > Size > Remove Font Size Attribute
Format > Underline > Remove Underline Attribute

How exactly does Nisus Writer decide how text should appear in my document?
When deciding how some piece of text in your document should look, Nisus Writer uses the attributes enforced by the applied styles, plus any attribute overrides, where the overrides have the highest priority. Going from least important to most important, this list of consulted factors is:

1. Attributes enforced by the paragraph style.
2. Attributes enforced by the character style.
3. Attribute overrides (manually applied formatting).

There are some other more esoteric factors** but they are irrelevant to understanding this FAQ. The important thing is that attribute overrides have the last say in how your text looks; this is where the term "override" originates: the attributes override how your text otherwise would look.

So, if your text has such attribute overrides applied, whatever attributes your styles enforce won't shine through. Likewise any changes to your style will not appear for text where the attributes have been overridden.

** An example of another less important factor: if the applied paragraph style does not enforce a font attribute, then the font from your document's Normal style is used.

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