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This is how you organize a Word document easily using outlines

Microsoft’s word processor is a leading application worldwide, with a wide range of functions that go far beyond writing documents, so it is always convenient to have a good understanding of all its ins and outs, something that is not easy. Within its characteristics, it has the possibility of making diagrams, in order to keep all the content of a document organized and simplified.

By default, Word takes care of using “Print Layout” when presenting the document. From this option, both the size of the paper and its margins are shown, as well as information about the font. It also has the “Reading Mode”, the “Web Design”, the “Draft” and “Outline”. The latter is the one that we will see in depth in this article.

What is the use of making an outline in Word

The outline is a very useful feature with which to create extensive tutorials, business documents or even books. With this we can summarize the content of a writing to make it more understandable and less extensive, making it a highly recommended feature for both professionals and students. Outlines are made up of topics and subtopics. The themes are the main ideas; subtopics describe details.

In order to carry it out, it is necessary to have a clear idea of ​​the type that we want to carry out, since each idea requires its own design, although the objective will always be the same: to locate the main ideas that are going to be explained later in the text that we want to present.

The Outline view of Word is capable of presenting a document in a unique way taking advantage of the different heading styles that the word processor has, with which to be able to group and organize different thoughts, sections or ideas in a hierarchical way.

This tool makes it easy for us to randomly reproduce topics, subtopics, and text combinations to help us organize ourselves better. That is why whatever our level of creativity and knowledge we can use them to create lists or work on different projects. This feature works the same on all modern versions of Word: 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019 and also included in the Microsoft 365 package.

Use Outline view

If we are working with a long document, the so-called Outline view it can help us keep our text well organized. Thanks to this function we can create schemes based on different styles with which to keep all titles and subtitles distributed, making them easier to read.

To begin, just click on the “View” tab on the toolbar, where we will find the “Scheme” button within the “Views” group. By clicking on it we will see how the document is divided in an organized way so that each title and paragraph are represented by a single line.

Word Schemes

Unlike what happens in other sections of the “Views” group such as “Print Design” or “Web Design”, the “Scheme” comes with its own set of characteristics within the ribbon itself, allowing us to work with different levels and the ability to embed any document. Thus, any text with a title style format will appear automatically at the specified outline level, and can be graduated manually.

Outline tools

When you click on the Scheme button, your own ribbon appears. By default it starts with the Level 1 within the section “Schematic tools”, from where we can always know what level we are using. If we click on the drop-down we can change the current level from 1 to 9. The main topics are formatted in Title 1, the subtopics in Title 2, and so on. On each side of the level we find arrows. The simple arrow on the right allows to decrease a level or with the double date to demote a level as body text.

Word Outline level 1

Just below we have the buttons that will allow us to organize the different elements. With down and up arrows it will be possible to move them in the direction we need so that we can rearrange them without problem. With the plus (+) and minus (-) signs we can expand and group levels so that the scheme is not too long, so that we can expand it when we need them.

Word Schemes plus and minus

On the right we find the «Show level» tool, from which, as its name indicates, we can see the different levels, hiding the rest. For example, if we choose level 5, we will see 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5, with the rest being hidden, from 6 to 9. We also find the option to “Show text format”, which we can uncheck if we prefer to see the scheme with a simpler appearance. Also, we can check the box «Show only the first line», in case we have long elements within the different levels and we only want to see the first line.

Word Show text formatting

Master documents

From this second section that we find on the right side we can include subdocuments by clicking on the button «Show documents» so we can expand the available options ribbon.

Word Show Document

If we click on «Create» to obtain a new document or on «Insert» to add a saved file. Once added, all you have to do is press the button «Collapse» subdocuments to group all its content and show only one link to it. Later the name of the button will change to «Expand subdocuments» to carry out the opposite action that allows us to see all the content.

Word master document

Among the rest of the options we find “Unlink”, which is responsible for removing the link from the subdocument to copy the text into the original document. With “Combine” we can merge the content of each subdocument in the first subdocument. We also find the option to “Divide”, to be able to separate the content of a subdocument into several documents. Finally, the “Lock document” option will help us to prevent changes from being made.

Word Close preview

As soon as we want to exit the outline view, we can close it at any time by pressing the Close Outline view button, which we find within the “Close” section in the last block on the right. By doing this we can see the default view of the document at any time.

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