Word Tip – Outline View and Document Map

Another handy Word tip today is using Outline view to work with big documents. If you’ve got a sizeable document, chances are your document is also structured hierarchically. By this I mean that you are probably using multiple levels of Heading styles to organize your content. If you flip to Outline view (on the View tab of the ribbon), Word will give you a collapsed view of your document based on these heading style elements.

You can use the Show Level option on the Outlining ribbon to manage how deep the outline is, and you can also expand and collapse sections using the +/- buttons embedded in the document. The main use I have for Outline view is actually for rearranging documents for flow. You can drag the expand collapse buttons for different sections around in the Outline and Word will rearrange your document based on those actions. If you move a level 1 heading, everything below that heading will be moved as well.

You can also edit document text in Outline view although I’ve never really been comfortable doing this compared to working in Draft mode or the usual Print layout view.

Similar to the outline view is the document map. If you check the Document Map checkbox on the View tab of the ribbon, the document outline will appear in a task pane to the left of the main text editor and you can click on the different headings to jump around the document.

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