Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007 and 2010. 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 Outline Structure.

Changing Outline Structure

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated March 1, 2016)


If you find yourself in the position of needing to revise the structure of a document, you can make the job easy by following these steps:

  1. Make sure you have used the standard headings defined in the Word styles—Heading 1, Heading 2, Heading 3, etc.
  2. Switch to Outline view. (Easiest way is to click the Outline view icon on the status bar.)
  3. Select the head level at which you want to work with the document. For instance, if you must reorganize at the Heading 2 level, make sure you specify that you want "level 2" displayed in the outline. The way you do this is to use the Outline Level drop-down list on the Outlining tab of the ribbon.
  4. Position the insertion point somewhere in the heading you want to move.
  5. Click your mouse on the Move Up tool to move the heading (and everything subordinate to that heading) higher in the outline. The Move Up tool looks like an up arrow.
  6. Click your mouse on the Move Down tool to move the heading (and everything subordinate to that heading) lower in the outline. The Move Down tool looks like a down arrow.
  7. When you have finished, switch back to your regular viewing mode.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (6006) applies to Microsoft Word 2007 and 2010. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Changing Outline Structure.

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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What is six more than 8?

2017-11-01 12:36:35


I have experienced that word auto set the outline level of a document. After I set them to "Body text"in the paragraph dialog box and save the document, when I reopen it the levels are set again. Is there any way to stop word from doing that?

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