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: Changing Outline Heading Level.

Changing Outline Heading Level

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated September 10, 2022)

Word contains a powerful outlining system that allows you to quickly make changes to document structure. This is done in Outline view, which is invoked by clicking the Outline tool on the View tab of the ribbon, or by clicking on the Outline view icon at the left side of the horizontal scroll bar.

When you switch to Outline view, Word automatically displays the Outlining tab of the ribbon. You use the controls on this ribbon tab to change heading levels for your outline. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Specify the maximum heading level you want displayed by using the Outline Level drop-down list.
  2. Place the insertion point on the heading whose level you want to change.
  3. Click on one of the tools, to the left of the Outline Level drop-down list, that look like left-pointing arrows to make the heading a higher level. The tool with two left-pointing arrows will promote the paragraph to the Heading 1 level, while the tool with one left-pointing arrow will promote it by one heading level.
  4. Click on one of the tools, to the right of the Outline Level drop-down list, that look like right-pointing arrows to make the heading a lower level. The tool with two right-pointing arrows will demote the paragraph to body text (it will no longer be a heading), while the tool with one right-pointing arrow will demote it by one heading level.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (10515) 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: Changing Outline Heading Level.

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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Removing All Bookmarks

Need to get rid of a lot of bookmarks all at once? Word doesn't provide a way to do it, but you can use the short macro ...

Discover More

Shading Based on Odds and Evens

You can use conditional formatting to add shading to various cells in your worksheet. This tip shows how you can shade ...

Discover More

Putting a Chart Legend On Its Own Page

Displaying information using charts in Excel is easy and there are a variety of chart styles to choose from. Integrated ...

Discover More

Create Custom Apps with VBA! Discover how to extend the capabilities of Office 2013 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Access) with VBA programming, using it for writing macros, automating Office applications, and creating custom applications. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2013 today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Changing a Heading to Body Text

When working on an outline of your document, you may want to demote a heading so that it is treated just like your body ...

Discover More

Printing an Outline

Outlining is a great way to develop the content of your document. If you need to, you can even print the outline and only ...

Discover More

Condensing and Expanding Headings

When working in Outline view, you'll undoubtedly have the need to expand or condense information under your headings. It ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is nine minus 5?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the ribbon interface (Word 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Videos
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.