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: Condensing and Expanding Headings.

Condensing and Expanding Headings

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated September 13, 2014)

When you are working Outline view, Word displays only the headings you want displayed. You control this by selecting a heading level on the Outline toolbar. Word will only show those heading levels equal to or higher than the level you specify. You might, however, want to selectively condense headings or body text under specific headings. You do this in the following manner:

  1. Position the insertion point somewhere in the heading whose subordinate information you wish to condense.
  2. Click your mouse on the minus sign tool on the Outline toolbar. This condenses the heading.
  3. Click your mouse on the plus sign tool on the Outline toolbar. This expands the heading.
  4. Continue to click your mouse on the minus sign tool until the information is condensed to the level desired.

Word allows you to quickly condense or expand all the information under a heading by double-clicking your mouse on the minus sign or plus sign to the left of a heading. This assumes, of course, that the information under the heading had been previously expanded.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1868) 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: Condensing and Expanding Headings.

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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