Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 365. If you are using an earlier version (Word 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Word, click here: Changing a Heading to Body Text.

Changing a Heading to Body Text

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 18, 2020)

Word contains a powerful outlining system that allows you to quickly make changes to document structure. You do this in Outline view, which is most easily invoked by clicking on the Outline view button on the status bar. When you enter Outline view, Word displays the Outlining tab on the ribbon. You use the controls on the tab to change indentation levels for your outline.

Besides headings, you may have body text within your document. You may wish to change a current heading to body text. You can do this in any of these ways, after positioning the insertion point on the heading you want to change:

  • Using the mouse, click on the Demote to Body Text tool. This is the one that looks like two right arrows.
  • Apply a formatting style that is not a heading level.
  • Using the mouse, drag the body text indicator (the small plus sign to the left of the heading) to the right. Drag it far enough that you pass through all nine heading levels, which is necessary before the paragraph is changed to body text.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (5335) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Changing a Heading to Body Text.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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