Outline View in Word 2010

I don't think Outline has changed in 2010. I must confess, I was never comfortable with Outline view - I work with far too many tables - so in older versions I learned to work backwards and forwards with a table of contents. It is one of a few ugly features that are still ugly, but are partially replaced in 2007/10 - which leads me to suspect they will eventually be replaced with something that is much better designed. My list of still ugly features includes master documents, mail merge, and cross references.

The partial replacement for Outline View that everyone should look at and work with for a while is the new Navigation Pane. (Ctrl F will open it rather than the old Find/Replace dialog which you now have to open with Ctrl H.) Like all brand new features with MS, they are using us as usability testers, so there are some irritations, but for me it is already worth the effort of getting around them.

There are three tabs in this view. I find the Find part of of the Navigation Pane fantastically useful for finding and reviewing specific things I might have wrong. For instance, if realise I have been inconsistent with standards I can run a search. It displays the found text string in context - this is critical - and highlights it throughout the document. Editors are going to love it.

You can also, as long as you are 100% disciplined with heading styles, use the browse headings tabs to move slabs of text around. You just have to make sure you have the right cut and paste default set when you do this, or you might lose your styles - that is an example of one of the irritations that I am sure Microsoft will fix down the line. As you cannot use this view without styles correctly applied, they should overrule any cut and paste default so that it always takes styles unless told otherwise.


  1. Anonymous25/10/11

    Good tips. Maybe I'm an outlier, but I think in outline view... and I'm not even autistic. My whole life depends on outline view. And you can see the formatting (well, bold, italic, colors...) But tables, right, outline view can handle that, but they aren't inset. BUT, did you know you can drag the rows in outline view? - BluChunx

  2. " BUT, did you know you can drag the rows in outline view?" No, I didn't. I will test that when next working with tables. That would make outline view fantastically useful if it works smoothly.