Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Word 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Word, click here: Changing Outline Heading Level.

Changing Outline Heading Level

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated September 8, 2017)

Word contains a powerful outlining system that allows you to quickly make changes to document structure. This is done in Outline view, which is invoked by selecting Outline from the View menu, or by clicking on the Outline view icon at the left side of the horizontal scroll bar.

When you enter outline view when using Word 97 or Word 2000, you see an Outline toolbar at the top of the document window. You use the buttons on this toolbar to change heading levels for your outline. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Specify the maximum heading level you want displayed by clicking on a number, 1 through 9, on the Outline toolbar.
  2. Place the insertion point on the heading whose level you want to change.
  3. Click on the tool (on the Outline toolbar) that looks like a left-pointing arrow to make the heading a higher level.
  4. Click on the tool that looks like a right-pointing arrow to make the heading a lower level.

If you are using Word 2002 or Word 2003, you'll still see an Outline toolbar at the top of the document window, but the interface for changing the outline heading levels is a bit different:

  1. Specify the maximum heading level you want displayed by using the Outline Level drop-down list on the Outline toolbar.
  2. Place the insertion point on the heading whose level you want to change.
  3. Click on one of the tools, to the left of the Outline Level drop-down list, that look like left-pointing arrows to make the heading a higher level. The tool with two left-pointing arrows will promote the paragraph to the Heading 1 level, while the tool with one left-pointing arrow will promote it by one heading level.
  4. Click on one of the tools, to the right of the Outline Level drop-down list, that look like right-pointing arrows to make the heading a lower level. The tool with two right-pointing arrows will demote the paragraph to body text (it will no longer be a heading), while the tool with one right-pointing arrow will demote it by one heading level.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1666) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Word (Word 2007 and later) here: Changing Outline Heading Level.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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