Controlling the Heading Levels Displayed in the Navigation Pane

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated June 27, 2020)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365


5

Mary Anne works as a freelance editor of academic documents. Very frequently, they contain Level 3 headings as well as Levels 1 and 2. She wonders if there is any way to make the Level 3 headings display in the Navigation pane. Mary Anne opens the Navigation pane as a matter of course when working on her documents and the disappearance of Level 3 heads is a nuisance.

The easiest way to control how many heading levels are displayed in the Navigation pane is to follow these steps:

  1. Display the Navigation pane as you normally would.
  2. Make sure the Headings tab is displayed in the Navigation pane. (A different tab may be displayed if you previously used the Navigation pane to display the results of a Find and Replace operation.)
  3. Right-click on any heading in the Navigation pane. Word displays a Context menu.
  4. Choose the very last option, Show Heading Levels. Word displays a fly-out menu that lists all the heading levels you can display. (See Figure 1.)
  5. Figure 1. You can specify which heading levels are displayed in the Navigation pane.

  6. On the fly-out menu, click the lowest heading you want displayed. For instance, if you want all headings through Heading 3 displayed, click on the Show Heading 3 option. Both the fly-out menu and the Context menu disappear.

What you see in the Navigation pane should be immediately updated. If you don't see all the headings you expected, then you'll want to check to make sure that the headings are actually formatted using the necessary heading styles (Heading 1, Heading 2, Heading 3, etc.). You should note, as well, that if a heading is contained within a table, then there is a very good chance that the heading won't appear in the Navigation pane. Word "overlooks" these headings, for some reason.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (13776) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365.

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 seven more than 9?

2023-05-10 16:01:20

A Monaco

Thanks for the tip about the Nav-Pane levels. I've been searching for this answer off/on for a while. It was really helpful.

Do you know of a way to make the levels selected a 'default setting'?

Thanks
ADM


2022-11-10 14:57:40

Zana

the problem is it is showing the wrong level, I had it set to LEVEL 3 but it is showing me headings at level 6 !!


2022-03-22 12:12:10

Idaho Storm

Thanks for the tip! I've found that if you attempt to have the first word of a sentence or phrase be the "heading," it will not show up on the headings list unless you select the full line or isolate the word.


2021-11-12 04:35:10

Rob KB

Is there a way to control which levels the Nav pane displays on startup? At the moment I have to tweak this every time I open my document as it shows everything, which can take a long time to scroll through. I tried looking in Word options but without any success.


2020-06-28 15:50:59

Carrie C.

Strangely, this is exactly what I was wondering about with documents I'm about to start editing!


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