Tips & Tricks

Word Tip – Use Outline View to Structure Long Documents

There is a brilliant view found in Word and PowerPoint that helps you when brainstorming or planning a long document or presentation, it is called Outline View.  When using this view, you type up the key headings for your document and then you can easily demote, promote and move headings around.  When you have paragraphs that belong with the heading, this view enables you to move the heading and this also moves the associated text at the same time, keeping headings with the correct paragraphs…

  • Start with a New Document in Word, select the View tab and then the Outline tool


  • Type the first heading for your document, we have typed “Training Needs Analysis” in the example below.  This will be a Level 1 heading which is a major title or chapter heading:


  • Press ENTER for a new line and a new major heading. In our example, we have typed “Introduction” as the next heading, this appears as a Level 1 heading too:


  • In the example, the text “Training Needs Analysis” is the main heading and “Introduction” is a sub heading. To make “Introduction” appear as a sub heading, make sure your cursor is on that line and click on the Demote arrow on the Outlining ribbon:


  • The text “Introduction” will now be a sub heading and will be a Level 2 heading style:


  • We repeat this process for all sub headings, for example, if we also want “Company Structure” and “Technology Audit” sub headings, press ENTER type “Company Structure” then press ENTER, type “Technology Audit”:


  • You can also use the following tools on the Outlining ribbon to manipulate the headings after you have typed them:


  • To enter the main body text after you have structured your documents headings, click on the Close Outline View tool on the Outlining ribbon, you will return to Normal View


  • In Normal view, click at the end of a heading, in the example below, we clicked at the end of “Introduction” and pressed Then type the body text required under the heading.  The document will look like this…


  • Repeat for all subsequent headings
  • Note: at any time, you can return to Outline view and use the tools on the Outlining ribbon to easily manipulate the text and headings in the document


  • Using Outline View allows you to quickly plan and type the structure of a long document in Word or a PowerPoint presentation. You can also change the position of headings and their subheadings and all associated body text will remain with the heading.  It is a very powerful tool!



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