hiding the detail - image credit: unsplash.com /caleb-woodsWhen you first go into Word the default view is Print Layout. This shows you the size of the paper, margins and an indication of the font and size of text that you will be using. This is all saved to what’s known as the Normal template. There are four other views you can choose from. Read mode, Web Layout, Outline and Draft. Today I am investigating the Outline View.

Outline in Word means seeing just the headings of a long document. That is if you are using styles which makes this all possible. You still have the paragraphs that are part of each heading but you have hidden them for the time being. This allows you to concentrate on the flow of the document more easily. If you need to move a heading, and its paragraphs, to another place this makes life a lot easier. When you first see Outline View it looks a bit unwelcoming until you know of its magic.

How to create an outline document.

As with all things Word, you can apply a style to text as you are typing or apply it later when you have finished the document. Having the correct levels applied to each heading is important. Here are two examples of a document without headings and then with headings.
I have purposely used colour to accentuate the difference in levels of my headings.

Having applied the different heading styles to each heading the next step is to see this document in the Outline View.

In the View Tab at the beginning you will see all 5 view choices. Select the Outline View.This is what your screen will look like. Let’s start with the images at the left of each heading. This image indicates that this heading with all its paragraphs underneath can be collapsed so that you only see the heading. Here I have collapsed some of the headings in my document.

How to collapse and expand one heading.

  • Move your mouse to the plus image next to the heading.
  • Double click on the Plus. This will result in a collapse.
  • Double click again and this will result in expanding the paragraphs.

The other image you can see is this. If you click on it once it will highlight the one paragraph.

How to collapse and expand all the headings.

If all you need to see are just the headings themselves from the new Outline Tab which appears uncharacteristically near to the front of the tabs not at the end. Select the Show Levels Tool. From the list that appears you can select which levels you would like to see. Sometimes it is quicker to select the last level just in case you have used more levels than you thought you had. Word will not show levels you have not used. Here is what you will see if you select Level 9. The bar at the bottom left of the document indicates that this is the very end of the document.

As you can see in my example I have three levels only.

Now I shall choose to see Level 2. All the rest of the text and headings in my document have been hidden NOT deleted.

I can now move the headings around.

How to move a heading and its paragraphs.

  • Click once on the Plus sign at the beginning of a heading. This highlights all the contents that belongs with this heading.

Hold down the left mouse button and drag to the position you require. I have selected the first level 2 heading and have dragged it to the penultimate position. You can see a horizontal line where it will be placed with a black arrow head.

Let go of the mouse and this is what you will see. Seeing everything will show you that nothing is lost or placed in the wrong place.

  • Select All levels from the Show Level list.

Enjoy this magical view that helps rearrange your document or just make sure you have everything covered. It’s a hidden gem that few seem the know about.

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