Example of direct formatting and how it's saved in the task pane.
So Lesson 1 has, we hope, made the case for styles. But you might be wondering: What about all the formatting I do using toolbar buttons and other options; should I never format that way and only use styles?
One answer is that there are lots of cases in which it's easier and makes sense to, say, just use the Italic button, or create a list simply by clicking the Numbering button. Styles exist more for customization and reuse, so that you can use more complex formatting over and over.
But you can also make some of this "direct formatting" (the use of individual buttons and dialog box options) work for you like a style. Word supports this—recording the formatting you apply and listing it in the task pane. For example, if you use the Bold button on some text, you'll see that Bold gets added to the list of styles in the Styles and Formatting task pane.
But, is it a style?
It's not a style in itself; but you can make it work for you like a style. If you then customize the bold text by making it red, it changes in the task pane to Bold, Red and becomes handier to apply than clicking each of the related buttons every time you want text to be both bold and red.
This is a saved format. It differs from a style in that it has no icon next to it in the task pane, and you cannot copy it between documents or templates (more on templates in the next section). It also has a purely descriptive name, which might not be as helpful as a name you'd choose yourself. That said, a saved format is easy to convert to a style. It's also easy to delete.