Programmatically showing only the custom styles in the style pane of a Word 2007 file

The project in which I working nowadays is a content authoring and management system and makes extensive use of Word 2007. The system has two parts in context of the problem I am going to discuss about – One part where the Admin uploads a Word 2003 (.doc) file containing all the custom styles created in there into the system. Let us call this file as a word template. The second part is where the user uploads his own content files Word 2003 (.doc) files in the system. When the user uploads the content in the system, the styles from the word template gets into the to the uploaded content file (more on this later). This facilitated the styles being introduced in the system only once (or whenever the Admin wants) using the template and the same styles getting used in all the content files without having the user to recreate them in each content file. This also offered the consistency in the styles used in the content files used in the system.

Problem :- When the user uploads the content and then later opens the content for editing, he was seeing the inbuilt styles as well and they wanted only the custom styles and “Clear Formatting” option to be seen in the content file. Silly , isn’t it. But this is was requirement.:-)

Just to make sure we we are all clear on what an in-built and what a custom style is :-

Open Word 2003 and choose Format > Styles and Formatting and what ever styles you see in the style pane are all in-built styles.


And you can create a new style by clicking on  the “New Style” button. I created one “MyCustomStyle”. So this is the custom style in my file.


I need to take the attention back to my following line which I mentioned earlier :-

“When the user uploads the content in the system, the styles from the word template gets into the to the uploaded content file (more on this later). “

The way we do this is following :-

1. Convert the template word 2003 file to word 2007 format using a third party component named “Aspose.Words.dll” (
2. Convert the content word 2003 file to word 2007 using Aspose.Words.dll.

Just in case you are not aware, a Word 2007 file is an archive/zip file. You can rename any Word file (.docx) to zip file and extracts its contents as if it was a Zip file. When you look into the contents of that zip file, you will see each component of the word 2007 being represented by a file. Read about this here.
3.Copy the custom styles in the style.xml of template file to the style.xml content file.
4. Convert the content word 2007 file back to word 2003 using Aspose.Words.dll.

All the above four steps happen while the user attempts to open the file and when the file was ultimately opened, he sees the inbuilt styles as well along with the custom styles which is the problem.

When I started looking into the problem(an you, dear reader must have realized by now for sure), it seemed that user can always filter the custom styles:-


However, this is exactly what the users of the application did not want to do. So the effort of convincing them was in vain.

So, first I started looking at if Aspose.Words.dll offers any API to change the filter to show only the custom styles in the word 2003 file, when we convert the content 2007 file back to 2003. It turns out that It does not and a request for incorporating that change would take months.

I started looking at any other commercial product which would do a better job than Aspose and even the using Office Migration Utility(OFC) and wordconv.exe (comes with the Office compatibility pack). Those did not help either.

So then I looked at if we can find something in the files in the content word 2007 archive itself. There must be something in that archive which is telling Microsoft Word 2007 which types of styles to show in the style pane.

I came across an article at

Which states that For this , the w:stylePaneFormatFilter element in the settings.xml of the docx file can have the following values:-
0x1000 –  Specifies that a style should be present which removes all formatting and styles from text.
0x0002 – Specifies that only styles with the customStyle attribute should be displayed in the list of document styles.
So I sum the hex values above to get 1002 to show both Custom Styles and the Clear Formatting.
To test this, I created a new file in Word 2007 and created a new style named “MyCustomStyle” in it.


Then I rename that .docx file to .zip and then unzipped the same:-

image renamed to image

and extracted and navigate to Word folder to see the Settings.xml:-


Opened that file and see the following structure :-


I added the following node right under the root of the xml:-
<w:stylePaneFormatFilter w:val=”1002″/>


Updated the zip file and renamed the zip file back to docx and opened the docx file and saw only my custom style and “Clear All”!


  1. #1 by Виктор Бакурин (@letalumil) on August 31, 2012 - 12:36 am

    Hello! I found your post about wordconv.exe here : and i have the same problem right now. Did your found the solution? Or any free alternative. I mean i need to convert .docx to .doc on my web service without Office.Interop.Word or paid libraries.

    Thanks, Victor!

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