How to apply a paragraph style and retain italics?

I want to apply a new paragraph style to existing text, and have the new style replace font and font size, first line tabs, etc, but retain the font attributes, mainly italics, of the old style. Invariably, italics are not preserved.

Then you should set the font to italic in your new style.

If that doesn’t help, check with selected text:

  1. choose Format>Clear Direct Formatting from the menu.

  2. Set character style to default.

Thanks for your reply. I use italics in the body text for various reasons, writing in a novel format - inner thoughts, for example. Changing the font often loses the italics which is troublesome, esp. when a single word is italicized within the text. Clearing direct formatting has the same effect since while typing it feels natural to apply italics with CTRL-I. Losing the italics is the big problem.

As @ajlittoz writes correctly, it is a combination of right using paragraph styles and character styles.

For example, if you have assigned a paragraph to a paragraph style and you want to have a single word in italics, use a character style for it.

Never use a mixture of direct formatting and formatting with styles.

You can gain some experience here:

English documentation

What you experience is the intended behaviour.

Paragraph styles define all paragraph-wide attributes. They are a way to “name” the role of a paragraph in a document.

If your paragraph has no specific role (not a heading, a note, a comment, …), it should be styled Text Body. Headings are styled with Heading n, n = structural level in your document (1 for chapter, 2, for sub-chapter, …).

Within your discourse (Text Body), some paragraphs may temporarily interrupt the argumentation (quotation, comment, …). Then give them a different style. This may be where you need italics to denote this break in the argumentation.

When such a “secondary” style is really a companion to another style (e.g. it is a semantic extension to, say, Text Body), define it as a derivation, an inheritance, of the “primary” style. You do that with a righ-click on the primary style name in the style side pane (F11) and New. Change only the few differing attributes. Thus, when you change the primary style, all non overridden attributes in the secondary style will also be updated and your styles remain in sync.

Sometimes you want extra attributes applied only to some words of a paragraph. This can’t be done with a paragraph style because it would change the whole paragraph. Character styles are your friends in this case.

Built-in style Emphasis italicises the selected range. This may be what you need. If you don’t like the name, create your own character style.

Note that the style is named Emphasis and not Italics. This is because you can emphasise your text in many different ways (weight, colour, angle, size, other font, …). Imagine you have marked up sequences with Emphasis but you don’t like italics. You can modify Emphasis character style to change italics for straight but turn the characters red. Once the change is recorded, immediately all your sequences are updated for red without the need to chase the occurrences (and maybe omit one or two). This is the magic and intended use of styles.

For your information, paragraph styles are overridden by character styles which are in their turn overridden by direct formatting. But, avoid using direct formatting as far as you can because there is no visual feedback that direct formatting has been applied. When changing paragraph and character styles has no effect, this is a cue that some direct formatting is active, preventing you from controlling your formatting from a central location (the styles dictionary).

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In case you need clarification, edit your question (not an answer) or comment the relevant answer.


If you don’t select the entire paragraph, but only put the cursor in it, you can select another paragraph style, and direct character formatting will not be changed.