Google Docs, like most word processing programs, uses Type Styles to manage your typefaces. Your type styles determine what font you see when you start typing in a brand new document.

This article will show you how to change your default type style, but we'll also go over the other ways you can use type styles to save you time and make better-looking documents.

So What's A Type Style?

You can think of a type style as a basket full of settings. When you select some text and apply a type style, like say, "Normal", Docs applies all of the settings in that basket to your selected text. Settings included in a type style include:

  • Typeface (e.g. Times New Roman)
  • Size (e.g. 12 pt)
  • Line Spacing (e.g. double-spaced)
  • Alignment (e.g. left-aligned)
  • Indentation
  • Emphasis (e.g. bold, italics, or underline)

So, let's say you create a basket o' settings (Comic Sans, 16 pt, single-spaced, underlined) and you give it a name 'Subtitle'. Now, if you select some text and apply the Subtitle style, it will look like this:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.

How Can You Change a Style?
In Google Docs, the default style for a document is called 'Normal'. This is the default basket o' settings for new text. If you want to change it, first create some text that can provide an example for Google: "I want my default font to look like this."
In this example, let's say I want my default font to be left-aligned 14-pt Oswald. I'll put in some place-holder text and then change the basket o' settings to the way I want them:


Now that I have a good type sample I can use, I want to highlight this type sample by clicking-and-dragging. Next, I'm going to click on the box in the toolbar labeled 'Normal Text', which reveals my available type styles. Next I click on the right-facing arrow next to 'Normal Text' and select "Update 'Normal text' to match". 

This has now changed my 'Normal text' basket o' settings to match my type sample. Any time I add new text to this document, it will match the Normal style:

Now I have left-aligned Oswald 14 set as my default style for this one document. There's one more thing I need to do to make it my default type style for ALL of my future documents. Click on the style setting in the toolbar (it probably still reads "Normal text"), scroll down to 'Options', and then select "Save as my default styles":

From now on, all of my new documents will start out with left-aligned 14pt Oswald as my default font. By the way, you can use this same process to change the other styles listed here, such as "Title", "Subtitle", "Heading 1" and so on. This might lead you to ask...

OK, So What Good Are Custom Type Styles?

The main advantage of customizing your type styles makes it easy for you to format documents quickly. Let's say I have a document with lots sections of body text interspersed with titles. If I apply the 'Normal' style to all of my body text, it makes it really easy for me to change it. Let's say that my document looks like this:

Maybe I want to change the style of my body text. If I've been using my Normal type style, all I have to do is change one block of text, update the type style, and watch all of the rest of the body text in the document change auto-magically!

This won't be a huge time-saver for small documents, but for long multi-page documents, mastering type styles can save you hours of time you would have spent tweaking formatting.