Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021. 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: Navigating Your Document Using Outline View.

Navigating Your Document Using Outline View

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated February 11, 2023)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021


If you use defined styles, and you have organized your document so you use the headings defined by Word, you can use the Outline view to navigate through your document. For instance, let's assume you have a large document and you want to quickly jump to a location that you figure is about three-fourths of the way through the document. You know the heading for the text you want to find, but you can't quite remember the exact wording (therefore, you can't use the Find command). Here's how you could use Outline view to find the area:

  1. Switch to Outline view. (Click the View tab of the ribbon and click the Outline tool or simply click the Outline icon on the Status Bar.) The screen changes and Word displays the Outlining tab on the ribbon.
  2. Use the Show Level drop-down list (on the Outlining tab of the ribbon) to choose Level 1. All text except first-level heads disappears.
  3. Read through the heads to find the section you want.
  4. Make sure the insertion point is positioned within the header text.
  5. Click the Print Layout tool on the View tab of the ribbon, or use the corresponding icon on the Status Bar. Your insertion point is now in the section where you wanted to be.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (10395) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Navigating Your Document Using Outline View.

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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