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 Body Text to a Heading.

Changing Body Text to a Heading

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated July 13, 2019)

Word contains a powerful outlining system that allows you to make changes to document structure quickly. You do this in Outline view, which is most easily invoked by clicking on the Outline view button on the status bar if you are using Word 2007 or Word 2010. If you are using later versions of Word, Outline view is invoked by clicking on the View tab of the ribbon and then clicking Outline in the Views group.

When you enter Outline view, Word displays a new tab on the ribbon—the Outlining tab. You use the controls on the tab to change indentation levels for your outline, as you've learned in other issues of WordTips.

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

  • Using the mouse, click on the Promote tool. This is the one that looks like a left arrow.
  • Apply a heading level style.
  • Using the mouse, drag the body text indicator (the small square to the left of the body text paragraph) to the left.

If you don't want to make your changes in Outline view, you can also change body text to heading by simply applying a heading style to whatever paragraph you want to promote. Apply styles has also been covered in other WordTips, but an easy way to promote something to a Heading 1 level is to make sure the insertion point is in the paragraph and then press Ctrl+Alt+1. You can also use Ctrl+Alt+2 and Ctrl+Alt+3 to apply other levels of headings.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (12589) 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 Body Text to a Heading.

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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