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Outline View helps you manage a document’s structure and headings without getting lost in the text. In Outline View (click View > Outline), you use Outline Tools to move and edit headings, change heading levels, and move text around. You can also control how much detail you see.

Note: Creating an outline from nothing instead of starting with an existing document is a whole different process. See Create an outline from scratch if that’s what you’re after.

Once you're in Outline View, here’s how to work on your document:


Do this

Keyboard shortcut

Create heading

Select the body text in Outline View and under Outlining, in Outline Tools click the Outline Level box and choose the heading level you want.

Alt+Shift+Left Arrow

Edit heading

Select the text in Outline View and make the changes you want.

Change heading level

Under Outlining, in Outline Tools, click the right and left arrows next to the Outline Level box to promote or demote headings.

Alt+Shift+Left Arrow or Alt+Shift+Right Arrow

Move text up or down

Select the text, and click the up or down arrows under Outlining.

Alt+Shift+Up Arrow or Alt+Shift+Down Arrow

Expand or collapse text

Select the heading, and click the + or - symbols under Outlining.

Alt+Shift+Plus Sign or Alt+Shift+Minus Sign

Show or hide some headings

In the Show Level box in Outlining, pick the lowest heading level you want to display. All levels lower than that will be hidden.

Alt+Shift+n shows all headings up to heading level n

Show first line of text or all text

Under Outlining, check or clear the Show First Line Only box.


Close Outline View

Under Outlining, click the X on the Close Outline View button.

Switch to another view

Click View, and click the type of view you want to switch to, such as Print Layout or Read Mode.

Alt+Ctrl+P for Print View, Alt+Ctrl+N for Draft View, Alt+Ctrl+O to return to Outline View.

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