Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 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 Outline Structure.

Changing Outline Structure

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated December 1, 2018)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365


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. (Click the Outline view icon on the status bar if you are using Word 2007. If you are using Word 2010 click on the Outline icon found in the Document Views group of the View tab of the ribbon. The Outline icon is found in the Views group of the View tab of the ribbon if you are using Word 2013 or a later version.)
  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, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365. 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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