Applying Outline Levels to Specific Text

Throughout this chapter, you've seen that when you change the level of a heading in Outline view, Word also reformats the heading using the appropriate heading style. Fourth-level paragraphs are automatically formatted in Heading 4 style, and so on. Any heading levels you apply anywhere in Word automatically correspond to outline levels in Outline view.

At one time, using heading styles was the only way to define outline levels. Heading 1 was a first-level heading by definition, Heading 2 was a second-level heading, and so on. But there were some problems with this approach.

For example, what if you want to organize the levels of your document using different style names than the heading names Word provides? By default, Outline view displays any style name other than Heading 1?9 at the level of body text. What if you have titles, subtitles, or other elements that should appear at a higher level in your outline?

Or what if you have blocks of body text that you want to be included in the first level of your outline? This text is important, but it's still body text; you don't want to format it using the Heading 1 style.

Word's outline levels solve the problem. You can use them to format any paragraph for any of nine levels of importance (or format it as Body Text, which is the least important of all). Then, when you work in Outline view, those paragraphs are displayed based on their outline level, regardless of their style.

Word offers two ways to format text with an outline level. From the Outlining toolbar, you can choose a level from the Outline Level drop-down box.


The Outlining toolbar can be displayed in any document view, by choosing View, Toolbars, Outlining; it appears by default in Outline view.

Alternatively, you can set outline levels as you establish other paragraph formatting in the Paragraph dialog box. To do so, first select the paragraphs you want to assign outline levels for. Choose Format, Paragraph. In the Outline Level drop-down list box, choose the outline level you want: Level 1 through 9 or Body Text. Click OK.


You cannot change the outline levels associated with Word's built-in heading styles.


You might find you always want text formatted in one of your custom styles to be treated as a first-level outline element. In that case, modify the style to include Outline Level 1 as one of its attributes.

For more information about changing the paragraph formatting in a style, see "Changing Styles Using the Modify Style Dialog Box," p. 345.

    Part I: Word Basics: Get Productive Fast
    Part II: Building Slicker Documents Faster
    Part III: The Visual Word: Making Documents Look Great
    Part IV: Industrial-Strength Document Production Techniques
    Part VI: The Corporate Word