Styles for Google Docs

Get an additional set of headings, titles, and normal text styles from this tool for your documents. Just pick a style in the sidebar and use it for any part of your text to make it look pretty. Create your own sets of headings from scratch or edit any default ones.

Video: Styles add-on for Google Docs

Before you start

For the add-on to see your headings when you apply the entire style to your whole Google document, make sure to identify your titles, headings and subtitles properly beforehand. Headings marked as normal text won't be formatted as headings. They will get the formatting of the normal text.

You can identify them quickly using the Styles add-on as well.

Or select your headings, click Normal text on the Google Docs toolbar, and apply a required heading format.

How to work with Styles for Google Docs

Start the add-on

Open your document in Google Docs and go to Extensions > Styles > Start:
Run the add-on from the Extensions menu.
This will open the sidebar with the Google Docs styles:
The sidebar you see when running the add-on.

Create your own style sets or choose among the default ones

At the top, you'll find controls to add your patterns and see a list of sets pre-supplied by Ablebits:
See all Google Docs styles from Ablebits.

  1. There are 20 Google Docs styles available in the add-on, all divided into 4 groups depending on how they look:
    • formal
    • practical
    • classic
    • elegant

    as well as one common group with all sets.

    There's one more group to look for: Custom. It will appear once you create your own style sets (whether from scratch or by modifying default ones):
    5 groups of formatting sets for your Google Docs.

  2. If the default styles do not meet your requests, you are free to create your own sets. There are 3 ways to do that:
    • Click the first square with a plus icon to add the style from your document to the add-on. You'll be able to adjust its elements before saving and apply to any other document in future.
    • Or hover your mouse over it and you'll see a small icon with three dots at its upper right corner. As an alternative, it will also offer to create a new style from scratch:
      Add your own style or pick the one from your Google Docs.
    • Or simply right-click the tile to access the same two settings from the context menu.
      Tip. You can create new styles and edit existing ones in such a way that they fit any type of text in your Docs. For example, if you use quotes a lot or definitions play a big role in your texts, you can devote entire elements within the Google Docs style just for them:
      Custom style with custom elements.
  3. Click on any tile and then on the same three dots at the upper right corner to access some extra options:
    Edit the style, duplicate it, reset to default, or save the changes.

    • The first one applies the selected style to your whole document.
    • Pick Edit style to change headings in Google Docs, fonts, alignment, etc.
    • Duplicate style so you could adjust it without overwriting the original one.
    • Reset to default will undo all modifications you've ever made to the predefined style. It will be returned to its original form.
      Note. This setting is available only for the styles supplied by Ablebits. For your custom styles you'll see the Delete style option instead:
      Remove your custom style from the add-on.
    • Save changes, on the contrary, will keep them.
  4. Look through all Google Docs styles from the selected group using these page indicators.
  5. The arrow icon will minimize or expand the area with all style tiles.

Preview Google Docs styles

Whatever Google Docs style you select in the add-on, you will instantly see its full-size preview in the lower part of the tool:
Preview Google Docs styles.

  1. The blue floppy will hint that some modifications have been made to the style. The add-on will prompt you to save them before moving on to other sets.
    Tip. If you close the add-on without the changes, you will be prompted to save them the next time you run the tool.
  2. See what each heading, title & subtitle, and normal text from the selected style will look like in your document. You can also manage each element & apply it to your selected text with just a click.
  3. If the standard set of Google Docs headings is not enough, add more elements with this option. The new element will be added right away, offering you to name it first:
    Name your new style element.

    Tip. Hit Enter on your keyboard to confirm the label.
  4. Here you will find a few ways to handle each style element individually:

    A few actions are available for each style element.

    • Put your mouse cursor in the paragraph you want to format in the document and click Apply style to paragraph. The entire paragraph will change accordingly.
    • Update from selection works the opposite way. It borrows the format of the selected text in the document and applies it to your style element in the add-on.
    • Use Rename style element to customize the element label.
    • To modify the look, go for Edit style element.
    • Or Delete style element if you no longer need it.

Edit Google Docs styles

Google Docs Styles add-on lets you not only create your own style sets but also tailor the pre-supplied ones. Whatever you do, you will see the editor as a separate window with all the options around a small preview:
Edit style window with its options.

  1. At the top, you will find the name of the set. Click on it to change and hit Enter to confirm a new label. Or hit Esc to cancel renaming.
  2. Check this box to select all style elements and format them all in one go.
  3. Show checkboxes with this setting to easily select multiple style elements for customization.
    Tip. If the checkboxes are hidden, you can still pick several elements by pressing and holding the Ctrl key (or Cmd on Mac) on your keyboard.
  4. The selected elements are marked with the yellow line in the preview area so you could spot them easily among other text.
    Tip. You can select the required elements by clicking on them right in this preview area.
  5. Switch between different heading types for the element from this drop-down menu:
    Available heading types for each element.

    Tip. You can also right-click the element itself to access some extra possibilities:
    Extra settings for each element.

    • Rename to change your element label.
    • Duplicate to make its copy if you need a similar element but with small adjustments.
    • Delete to remove an unwanted element from the style.
    Note. Each style set can contain several elements of the same type (e.g. a couple of titles, a few subtitles, etc.) in case you'd like to have a choice :) However, when you apply the whole style to a document, only the format of the first instance will be applied. You can rearrange reoccurring headings within a style set quickly using drag-n-drop.
  6. Whenever the available types are not enough, you can add more.

    They can fit any type of text in your Docs. For example, if you use quotes a lot or definitions play a big role in your texts, you can devote entire elements within the Google Docs style just for them:
    Custom style with custom elements.

    Note. Each style set can contain several elements of the same type (e.g. a couple of titles, a few subtitles, etc.) in case you'd like to have a choice :) However, when you apply the whole style to a document, only the format of the first instances will be applied. You can rearrange reoccurring headings within a style set quickly using drag-n-drop.
  7. Here you can modify the looks of the selected elements: their font, font size & color, text formatting & alignment. The real-time preview will instantly show how it all appears in the document.
  8. You can always revert your changes using the Clear formatting option.
  9. Use Zoom to alter the size of the preview.
    Tip. By default, it is 75%. For the real size of your document set up 100%.
  10. Spacing and indentation are also adjustable for each element. Set up line spacing (spaces between the lines within one paragraph), space before/after each paragraph, first line indent, left & right indentations.

When you're ready, click Save to keep the changes.

To avoid overwriting the original set, choose Save as instead. You'll be able to give a name to this new pattern and it will appear in the Custom group.

Apply a new style to the selected paragraphs

It is very easy to apply any formatting from the set to your text:

  1. Place the cursor in the paragraph you want to format in your document or select several paragraphs to change.
  2. Click on the required element, e.g. Heading 1, Title, or Normal text, in the sidebar.
    Tip. You can use a standard option in Google Docs to apply the new format to all similar styles, e.g. to all headings:

    1. Right-click the text with the style you want to alter in the document, e.g. Heading 1.
    2. Pick Format options > Select all matching text. This way you automatically select all occurrences of Heading 1.
    3. Click any style in the sidebar that you want to apply to all the selected paragraphs.
    Tip. The add-on will keep bookmarks & links in your document.

Apply a style set to the entire document

If your Google document has its structure with titles and headings, you can make it look polished in just one click.

Note. Each style set can contain several elements of the same type (e.g. a couple of titles, a few subtitles, etc.) in case you'd like to have a choice :) However, when you apply the whole style to a document, only the format of the first instances will be applied. You can rearrange reoccurring Google Docs headings within a style set quickly using drag-n-drop.
  1. Pick one of the designed style sets in the list.
    Tip. You will see preview below the list in the sidebar.
  2. Click on the Apply style button.

All styles in the document will change accordingly.

Tip. The add-on will keep bookmarks & links in your document.

Share custom styles: export & import

All styles you create can be saved to your Drive and imported to the add-on later. This lets you use the same style templates under different accounts or simply share styles with your friends or teammates.

You will access the settings that control export & import at the very bottom of the tool. Just click the icon with three lines next to the Ablebits logo to see them:
All options to export and import styles in Google Docs.

  1. The first two lets you export either one currently selected style or all styles altogether. Once the add-on saves them to your Drive, you will see a confirmation message saying how many styles have been exported:
    The message about the successful export of your styles.

    Tip. The add-on always saves the file to the root of your Drive. Nevertheless, this message will always give you a link to open Drive right away along with the name of the file to look for.
  2. The last setting is for importing styles back to the add-on from that file on Drive.

    A special window will appear at first, inviting you to locate the file with the styles:
    Import styles from Drive.

    Note. You won't see other file types like spreadsheets or docs here, so don't panic if the folder is empty while you know it's not.
    Tip. If you don't remember the exact location of the file or simply don't want to browse from folder to folder, use the Search field at the top of the Import styles from Drive window instead.

    Simply enter the word your file with styles may have in its name and press Enter. The add-on will scan all your Drive folders for both exact and partial name matches. You will see the list of these found files with styles in the tree view:
    Search styles in Drive.

    Find your exported styles and click Import.

    Another confirmation message will tell you the following:

    1. How many styles have been processed. It's the total number of styles that file contains.
    2. How many of them have been added to your add-on successfully.
    3. How many of them have been ignored since their settings completely match those styles that you already have in your tool.

    A message confirming a successful import of your Styles.
    Hit OK and enjoy the imported styles right away :)


Viktor Steiner says:
June 21, 2023 at 7:04 am

Standard Google Docs has styles for different Heading levels. The next paragragraph after a Heading becomes "Normal" (which is logical). I want to define special styles which specify what style the next paragraph will have. Can I do that? How?

Hello Viktor,

The next paragraph after heading becoming normal style is the standard way Google Docs work. We're unable to change that.
It also has nothing to do with the way those texts look. You simply define how this or that text level look like and these looks are applied to the corresponding levels of the text.

So using our Styles (as well as making the style default in Google Docs) merely lets you define how those elements look, but not the order of their appearance.

Hi - I'm trying out this extension and it seems to be _almost_ exactly what I need.

What I'm having an issue with is that I have a document that uses a large number of custom styles for both headings and for different types of "normal" text. I have a table of contents that displays the Headings just fine, and does not include the Normal text. Lovely.
But then, if I ever make a change to any of the styles, heading or normal, or anything else, I'm stuck. The only way to apply it to the existing text is to hit the "Apply Style" button, which wipes all of my normal text back to the "normal" normal.

Is there anyway to have my sections of text remember which Style they're supposed to be so they can refresh to it correctly?

Is there any way to mark a section of text as immune to the "Apply Style" button?

Hello Ian,

Thank you for your comment.

Please note that the Apply Styles button applies the selected style to your whole document. However, it is possible to apply a certain style to the same elements in the document, just follow these steps:

If this does not solve the issue, please create a video illustrating the problem and send it to We'll do our best to help.

Is it possible to apply the styles to single words or groups of words, instead of to entire paragraphs only? I spent some time creating my own styles only to find out I can only use them on full paragraphs or not at all, and the extension is therefore pretty much useless to me :-|
I am back to painstakingly adding custom styling to words and sentences manually. Is this a feature to be expected on a future release?

Love this add on so much, but I'm still waiting to customise or save styles! Any news on this feature originally suggested back in 2019?

Hello Dave,

Thank you for your feedback. I'm sorry but it's not possible to customize or add styles in the current version of the add-on. We plan to add a possibility to edit styles and create your own ones but I can't give you any timing yet.

My apologies for any inconvenience.

How can i customize the styles according to my needs?

Hello Lorenzo,

Sorry, but it is not possible to customize styles in the current version of the add-on. We are planning to add this possibility but I can't give you any timing yet.

We will be sure to let you know as soon as this functionality is available.

Love the concept of this, though would like to see more specifics of what exactly this does. For example:
Does this support paragraph styles other than "Normal text" of if so, what are they?
Can you customize the new styles you provide in the same way Google Docs allows you to "change to match" a style?
What happens if your document is edited by someone else that doesn't have this add-in?
Can you collaboratively edit a document when only one participant has this add-in?
What new features are you expecting in the near term?

Thank you,

Thank you for your questions, Erik.

  1. Each style set contains variations of normal texts and headers. They differ in font, its size, colour, and another text formatting. If you have something in mind that you'd like to see, we're open to your suggestions :)
  2. The standard 'Update to match' option supports the styles from our add-on. We didn't implement the feature to the tool but will consider when updating it.
  3. All doc users will see the changes made by the add-on. They won't be able to use the tool (if they don't have it) but can revert/change anything in the doc.
  4. We plan to make it possible to edit styles and create your own ones. But I can't give you any timing regarding when it all will be available. We'll appreciate any suggestion you may have for us to improve the tool.

Please let us know if you have any other questions.

This seems like a great tool, but I really need the ability to create my own styles. It would be super cool if you could then "share" your own styles with other people. We use Google Docs for a lot of joint collaboration across the industry. It would be nice if we could create a style and share it with everyone in the group.

A feature that I really need is the ability to define prefix and suffix text for each heading. So normally would have something like:

1 Heading 1
2 Heading 2
2.1 Heading 2.1
2.1.1 Heading 2.1.1

I need the ability to add some text either before or after the treatment, like:
apple 1 Heading 1 someapple1
apple 2 Heading 2 someapple2
pear 2.1 Heading 2.1 somethingelse1234
fruit 2.1.1 Heading 2.1.1 fruitthing4321

Hello Bret,

We really appreciate your taking the time to share your feedback.
At the moment, the add-on doesn't offer the possibility to create and share styles. We'll continue to collect votes and comments on this idea to gauge interest and impact.

Thank you for your understanding.

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