When working with longer documents, especially those with several chapters or sections, it is often helpful to first create your chapter or section headings and then add the detail information later. This enables you to lay out the structure of your document so you can see the overall organization of the manuscript, allowing you to make structure changes before it gets too large.
When creating a document outline, you will need to format your outline using one of the Heading Styles such as Heading 1, Heading 2, etc. so that when you switch to Outline View, only the headings and subheadings are displayed. Using Word’s built-in Heading Styles also allow you to quickly create a Table of Contents, which we will discuss in the next section.
When in Outline View, enter your headings. Word automatically formats headings as Heading 1 style. To create a subheading, press Tab or click the demote button on the contextual Outlining Ribbon. This will indent a main heading and convert it to a subheading. Likewise, you can turn a subheading into a main heading by clicking the promote button on the contextual Outlining Ribbon or pressing the Shift + Tab keys. You can easily move headings up or down by clicking the Move Up or Move Down buttons on the Outlining Ribbon.
When creating your outline, you will notice plus symbols next to the main headings and minus symbols next to the subheadings. Double-clicking the plus symbol will hide the subheadings. To display the subheadings, double-click the heading plus symbol again.
Once you have the structure of your document laid out, the next step is entering your text. To do this, it might easier to switch to Normal or Page Layout view.
To Create an Outline:
- Click the View tab on the Ribbon.
- Click the Outline button on the Document Views group.
- Type your heading and press the Enter key.
- To create a subheading, press Tab or click the Demote button on the Outline Tools group of the contextual Outlining Ribbon.
- To revert to a higher level heading, press the Shift + Tab keys Or click the Promote button on the Outline Tools group of the contextual Outlining Ribbon.
- To move a heading or subheading to a different location, click the Move Up or Move Down buttons on the Outlining Ribbon until the heading is in the desired location.
- When finished, click the Close Outline View button on the Ribbon.