How to get bookmarked PDF from Word document

3. Format titles with Heading styles

The background

In Word styles are the one-click solution to apply coherent formatting to selected parts of the text. Styles are a pre-set combination of font type, size, color, line spacing, etc. There are some default styles offered in Word but you can create your own ones too.
Certain styles also include additional functions.  Heading styles are one of these: applying them to section titles and subtitles will allow you to generate a functional, linked Table of Contents in the Word document, and they allow you to generate bookmarks when converting to PDF. 

Styles you find on the Home tab. 

  1. Style Gallery is directly accessible, offers a quick-view of a customizable selection of styles. 
  2. Style Pane - with more options and styles - can be accessed by clicking the right-bottom corner of the Style Gallery
  3. It could be important in the beginning that you select All styles to see, under the Options at the bottom of the Style pane.    

What to do - 
If your titles are already formatted and you want to preserve the appearance:

You may already have some formatting - e.g. bold, bigger font size, underline, etc. - applied manually to your titles. There is this convenient way to keep the appearance but still have the required Heading styles applied.
If you are just at the beginning of formatting your document and your titles look quite the same as the rest of the text then the next sub-chapter might be more helpful for you.

So to apply Heading styles to already formatted titles do this:

  1. a.) Select the title you want to format
    b.) Note that the currently used style is highlighted on the Style Gallery / Style pane. 
  2. Right-click on the Heading style you want to apply for that title. 
    Note, different Heading styles are used to format chapter titles and various levels of subtitles like this:
    1. Chapter titles > apply Heading 1 style
    1.1. Subtitles apply Heading 2 style
    1.1.1. Sub-subtitles apply Heading 3 style; etc.

  3. Select Update Heading ... to match selection - this will apply & adjust the Heading style at the same time.
    You should see in result that the title did not change appearance, but now the selected Heading style is highlighted in the style list, showing it is that style used for the text.
  4. For all further titles of the same level now you can select the titles one by one and simply click the Heading style - automatically the new appearance will be applied. 
  5. Repeat the same process of adjusting and applying other Heading styles for other title levels in your document.


  • In most of the cases default styles do not fit the CEU thesis writing standards, so you need to modify the settings for each used style (Normal, Heading styles, Footnote Text, Footnote Reference, etc.).
  • Learn how to generate a Table of Contents based on Heading styles.
    Here you find the related tutorial.