Word 2007: Document Maps and Outline View

Since revising isn’t the most … exciting of activities, my first day of revision has turned into an exercise of discovering new things about Word 2007. It’s a vast program with a cornucopia of features, and it’s a pity most people still stick with using the bare basics of text formatting they learnt on their first day of using it. I’m slightly guilty of doing that myself, but I think Microsoft’s decision to move features into the ribbon was supposed to get people to explore the program more by making these features easier to get to. Anyways I worked out something new today so I’m rather pleased with myself; hopefully I can share this revelation…

NB: Click on screenshots to view them full-size.

Document maps are almost invariably seen in PDF files and are incredibly useful for navigating through large documents. Word has the feature, but it doesn’t work very well. To access it, go to the ‘View’ tab on the ribbon and check ‘Document Map’ under ‘Show/Hide’:

If you use its default styles (e.g. Heading 1, Heading 2, Title, Subtitle etc.) the document map tool can guess fairly easily how the document is structured and sectioned, and it’ll do a decent job of creating sensible anchor points. Unfortunately the style I created for ‘Subheader’ isn’t based on a default header or title style (it’s actually based on ‘Intense Quote’) so Word hasn’t a clue what’s going on when I use it:

I have until now always considered all the views in Word apart from print (and possibly reading view) totally pointless. The fix for the document map however is to use Outline View:

Here you can see what Word thinks your document’s structure is. Clearly it’s got it wrong: Word is treating the subtitles exactly like the rest of the text. As far as it’s concerned, they’re the same as normal body text:

Outline view allows you to change the outline level of each line of text, i.e. how the document map eventually gets nested. To change the outline level of a line of text, highlight it and use the drop-down:

Now things are starting to look vaguely sensible: the subheader line is being classified as a sort of header rather than ordinary body text. You then need to apply the change to all lines styled that way:

And you end up with a sensible structure:

Going back into a sensible view, you can see the document map has automatically updated.

So outline view has a use after all. Of course, if you want to update the Word template so every time you use that style Word treats it like a subtitle rather than a quot[e/ation] you have to export the style:

  1. Ctrl + Alt + Shift + S
  2. Click ‘Manage Styles’ (button at the bottom)
  3. Click ‘Import/Export’
  4. Make sure the RHS box is titled something like ‘To Normal.dotm’
  5. Select the appropriate style in the LHS box and click copy. If prompted, click overwrite
  6. Click ‘Close File’ on the RHS

The dialogue box from step 4-6 should look like this:

Anyways that’s enough tinkering for a day. Back to watching a film physics revision!



One Response to Word 2007: Document Maps and Outline View

  1. Ben Dory says:


    If you hover your mouse over a footnote a box appears telling you what the footnote says! All those lost seconds…

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