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Microsoft Word 2003/2004

Outlining: Using the Outline View

Viewing your document using the Outline view gives a more organized look to your document compared to the Normal or Layout views. The Outline view allows you to see the different heading levels of the document. Each break in the text has a symbol indicating the hierarchy of heading and subtext. Using these symbols, you can format the heading style and position.

Return to TopAbout Outline View

The Outline view shows the different levels of headings in your document. Headings are like titles in your document that explain the section of text to follow. Each heading in the Outline view is indicated by symbols. These symbols can be used to format the heading style and position.

The Outline view shows all of the text in your document as do Normal or Layout views. However, the Outline view shows the stairway of different levels used throughout the document and, therefore, looks different. It is easier to change the headings and subtext in the Outline view because of the versatility of the symbols and buttons on the Outlining toolbar. Compare the differences between the Normal and Outline views of the same text.

Normal View

Outline View

Normal view sample Outline view sample

To view your document in Outline view:

  1. Open the existing document

  2. From the View menu, select Outline
    The document switches to the Outline view.

Text Symbols

While in Outline view, you will notice the different symbols to the left of each heading or subtext. These two symbols, the plus sign and minus sign, indicate whether the text has subtext. These symbols can be used as a tool to position your text or subtext.


Heading with subtext

Heading with subtext

Heading with no subtext

Heading without subtext

Return to TopThe Outlining Toolbar

If you want to do more than position the text in Outline view, the Outlining toolbar can help. From the Outlining toolbar, you can change the position of the heading and subtext similar to dragging the symbols. You can also view your document several ways using the various view buttons.

To view the Outlining toolbar:

  1. View your document in the Outline view

  2. From the View menu, select Toolbars » Outlining
    The Outlining toolbar appears.

Button Options

The Outlining toolbar includes many different ways of formatting and viewing the levels in the Outline view. The table below lists the buttons and their actions.

Windows Macintosh    
Promote and Demote buttons
Same Promote/Demote Moves selected heading and subtext symbols by promoting them (moving them up a level and to the left) or demoting them (moving them down a level and to the right)
Promote to Heading 1 button N/A Promote to Heading 1  Changes the selected paragraph to Heading 1
Demote to Body Text button Same Demote to Body Text Changes the selected paragraph to body text
Up and Down buttons Same Move Up/Move Down Moves selected heading and subtext up or down in sequential level
Expand/Collapse button Same Expand/Collapse Expands and/or collapses selected heading and subtext groups
Outline Level pull-down list N/A Outline Level Changes outline level of selected text
Show Level pull-down list Outline level buttons Show Level Shows the level selected and all those above
Show First Line Only button Same Show First Line Only Shows only the first line of the levels displayed
Show/Hide the Formatting button Same Show/Hide Formatting Shows and hides the formatting of all text in the Outline view 
N/A Master Document View button Master Document View Shows the Subdocuments toolbar, which allows you to view or edit any subdocuments

Return to TopApplying a Heading Style

Word automatically gives you heading style options; however, you are not limited to them. You can create a heading style with whatever font, size, or color you wish. After giving the heading a name, it appears in the style pull-down list for you to use accordingly. Creating your own style of heading can make your outline more consistent and organized. For instructions on how to create styles in Word, refer to Style Basics.

  1. Click within the paragraph you want to apply the heading style to

  2. Windows: On the Formatting toolbar, from the Style pull-down list, select the desired style
    Macintosh: Using the Formatting Palette, in the Styles section, select the desired style
    NOTE: The heading style changes the level to match the heading style number.
    EXAMPLE: Heading style 4 is also level 4

Style pull-down list Style section of the Formatting Palette

Return to TopOrganizing Text

Using Outline view makes organizing or reorganizing your document easy.

Using Outlining Toolbar
Using Text Symbols
To promote a heading or subtext one level Click PROMOTEPromote button for Windows Drag the appropriate symbol to the left
To demote a heading or subtext one level Click DEMOTEDemote button for Windows Drag the appropriate symbol to the right
To move the heading or subtext up within the document Click MOVE UPMove Up button for Windows Drag the appropriate symbol up
To move the heading or subtext down within the document Click MOVE DOWNMove Down button for Windows Drag the appropriate symbol down

Return to TopAdding Text

Once you have created and rearranged your text, you may want to add more text.

  1. Place the insertion point after the text immediately above where you want the new text to begin

  2. Windows: Press [Enter]
    Macintosh: Press [return]
    The new paragraph with the same level as the previous paragraph appears with an outline symbol to the left.

  3. To adjust the position of the new level, refer to Organizing Text

Return to TopDeleting Text

Once you have created and rearranged your text, you may want to delete some text.

  1. Click the symbol next to the level which you want to delete
    Text and subtext included in that level is selected.

  2. Press [Delete]
    The text and subtext in that level is deleted.

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