When I first started regularly using Word (back around 1992) I resisted using Styles - for years. I have since compared that experience to attempting to push a string. I just had a chance to see just one quantifiable part of what a difference formatting with Styles makes. I want to share that experience.

I had occasion to edit a 100-page document that was created without using styles. It was formatted completely with direct formatting. Each page ended with a page break. All I was doing was applying heading styles to headings to make it easier to navigate.

Each time it had to be saved, the save took more than 60 seconds, during which time Word was frozen. A similar-sized document formatted using Styles takes less than 3 seconds for me to save. This difference was due entirely to the document being directly formatted - a much higher level of complexity. Each paragraph mark in a directly-formatted paragraph carries with it up to fifty different formatting commands. When formatted using Styles, that paragraph mark will carry with it one command - use this style!

This is with Word 2010 on a 2 Ghz dual-processor computer.