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: Sharing Headings with Others.

Sharing Headings with Others

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated March 6, 2013)

There may be times when you have developed a document, and you want to share an outline—your headings—with other people. Fortunately, Word allows you to do this rather easily. The easiest way, of course, is to simply print the outline. You do this by following these steps:

  1. Switch to Outline view of your document.
  2. Use the Outlining toolbar to specify the heading levels that should be shown.
  3. Click on the Print tool on the Standard toolbar or choose Print from the File menu.

You should note that when you are viewing an outline, how you print is very critical. If you choose Print Preview, Word does not display only the headings in your document, meaning that you don't see what will really print. Further, if you choose Print from Print Preview, more than just your headings will print. This may lead some readers to believe that you can't print just your outline. This is simply misleading; if you follow the instructions above, you can print your outline just fine. This outline can then be shared with others, as desired.

But what if you want to share a document (not a printout) that consists of just the outline? Things get a bit more sticky here. The idea is that you must find a way to remove everything except the headings. The obvious way to do this is through the use of either a table of contents, or the use of RD fields. (Both of these techniques have been covered in other issues of WordTips.)

If you need to share just the headings quite a bit, a simpler solution may be to write a macro that strips everything out of the document except the headers. The following VBA macro will do the trick quite nicely:

Sub ReduceToHeadings()
    Dim docActive As Document
    Dim objPara As Paragraph
    Dim objShape As Shape

    ' set fixed ref to the working document
    Set docActive = ActiveDocument

    ' loop and remove any non-"Heading" paragraphs
    For Each objPara In docActive.Content.Paragraphs
        If LCase(Left(objPara.Style, 7)) <> "heading" Then
        End If
    Next objPara
End Sub

What this macro does is simply loop to remove paragraphs in the main body of the document if the paragraph does not use a heading style. It assumes, of course, that the heading styles have not been renamed. When it is done running, only the headings remain. You should make sure you use the Save As command right away to end up with a document that you can share with others. Do not use the Save command, otherwise you will overwrite your original document (definitely a bad thing).

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1780) 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: Sharing Headings with Others.

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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