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My experience has been just the opposite. As an editor, any template
that I am responsible for gets the "based on Normal style" option
removed. I base absolutely nothing on Normal. In fact, I believe this is
recommended by the Microsoft Word MVPs. I also never use Normal style in
a document, but then, we also don't use RoboHelp.
My experience has taught me that "Normal" is different on each computer,
therefore what looks fine on my computer may change unexpectedly when
viewed on a different computer. Hence, Geoff's law of unintended
I usually base a style on no style or none, unless it makes sense to do
so. I think Geoff gave some very good examples.