Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member
Word's Outline feature is an excellent tool for organizing your thoughts in preparation for creating a long document. I use this feature regularly when I begin work on a book or even a lynda.com course like this one. In fact, as I sit here in the booth recording this video, my Word Outline is in front of me, helping me remember what I am covering and when. Of course, you don't need to create a book length work to use an Outline. You can use it for shorter works as well. Anytime you need to organize material with topics and subtopics, an outline is a perfect way to start.
As you will see throughout this chapter, Word's Outline feature has some built-in tools that make outlining very easy to do. We will start by creating an outline from scratch in a blank Word document. If you don't have a new document showing, pull down the File menu, choose New Blank Document, or press Command+N to show one. Then you need to click down here in the Outline View button to switch to Outline View. Now this outline is for marketing report that we need to create for Two Trees Olive Oil Company. Let's start typing.
The very first thing we type is going to be the first Level 1 heading. That's the top-level heading of the outline. Now we will press Return to go to the next line and we want to put in another heading under this, but it's a lower- level heading. In other words it's under Introduction. It's part of the Introduction section of the document. So what we can do here is press the Tab key and what that will do is it will indent us and bring us to the Level 2 heading, and we could type in that heading. We press Return to go to the next line.
We can put in another Level 2 heading, which is Staff. Now I'll press Return to go the next line again, and now we want to put a heading under staff. So a third level heading, and we know that we can do that by pressing the Tab key, but you can also do that by clicking one of these buttons. The button we want here is the Demote button, so I will click that once and that's the same as pressing Tab. We have two Level 3 headings under this: Main Office and Palermo Office. Now when I press Return, I get another Level 3 heading, but I don't want to be on Level 3 anymore. I want to go back up to Level 2, and there is two different ways I can do this.
I can press Shift+Tab and that will bring me up, or I could also click the Promote button, which is this button here. So I am at Level 2, I will type in the next heading, Feedback, and I will press Return. Now I want to go back up to Level 1, so I'll click the Promote button, just to try something different, and we will type in that heading Products and under Products, we are going to indent again to Level 2. I have Original Products and I also have New Products and I also have Planned Products.
That's enough for now. You get the idea. You want to Tab to go to a lower level heading or Shift+Tab to return to a higher level heading. Personally, I find using the Tab keys a lot easier than clicking these buttons, but if you like to click buttons you can either promote or demote with these buttons. So far these are all headings and Word has applied the various heading level styles, but you could also include body text in your outline. For example, maybe after Purpose I want to put some body text, so I want to have like a paragraph of text right under the heading before the next heading.
With my insertion point right after the word Purpose, I can press Return. That will give me new line, but that gives me a heading line and I don't want one. I want a body text line. So I can click this button over here, which demotes this to body text. Click that and you will see the icon changes. It's now a little box. I can type in the body text. "The purpose of this document is to introduce the marketing team and products and review the results of our recent market survey." As you can see, you can actually write your document in an Outline View by providing body text for each of the headings.
Word formats this text using the normal style. This should give you an idea of how easy it is to enter and indent heading in body text in the Outline format. So far this is pretty simple stuff, but where you really tap into the power of Word's Outline feature is its ability to rearrange outline components. That's up next.
Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.Become a member
82 Video lessons · 80536 Viewers
80 Video lessons · 132805 Viewers
52 Video lessons · 66334 Viewers
59 Video lessons · 52099 Viewers
Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.
Search within course videos and transcripts, and jump right to the results.
Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.
Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.
Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.
Your file was successfully uploaded.