Collapsing and expanding Headings/Outline levels

Since the advent of dynamic web pages, users have been asking for a way to collapse and expand content in Word documents. The Word team has finally been able to implement this in Word 2013. When the user hovers the mouse pointer over a paragraph formatted with an outline level a triangle appears next to the paragraph:

Uncollapsed state

Uncollapsed state

Clicking the triangle collapses all the content under the outline level and displays a different triangle:

Collapsed State

Collapsed State

Clicking this one expands the text under the heading.

The corresponding keyboard shortcuts only work when the selection is in a collapsible/expandable paragraph. They are:

                Collapse: Alt+Shift+- or Alt+Shift+Num –

                Expand: Alt+Shift++ or Alt+Shift+Num +

Using Find in the user interface will expand any collapsed headings if the search term is found in that range.

Note: Applying a built-in Heading style automatically applies an Outline level.

The collapsed state of outline levels is stored in the document when it’s saved. You can control whether all heading levels should automatically appear expanded when opening any document by activating the checkbox File/Options/Advanced/Show Document Content/Expand all headings.

Word supports collapsing and expanding all headings while working in a document, but the commands don’t appear in the default Ribbon interface. They can be easily added to the QAT or the Ribbon tab of your choice. Go to File/Options and choose Quick Access Toolbar or Customize Ribbon. You’ll find the commands Collapse All Headings and Expand All Headings in the View Tab category.

The author of a document has the option to format any outline level paragraph to appear by default as collapsed. The command is accessed via the dialog launcher in the Home/Paragraphs group. The checkbox Collapse by default is located right of the Outline level dropdown, near the top of the Paragraphs dialog box.

Collapse outline level by default

Collapse outline level by default

In my next post I’ll go over the changes in the Word object model related to this new feature.

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