Video: Collapsible headings

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When you’re working on a long, complicated document, you can collapse everything except the part you want to focus on. The ability to collapse and expand content in your document is based on its outline level. You can quickly add an outline level and make part of your document collapsible by adding a heading using Word's built-in styles.

Collapse or expand parts of a document

If you want the document to open with the headings collapsed, follow these steps.

  1. Place your cursor in the heading.

  2. On the HOME tab, in the Paragraph group, click the dialog box launcher.

  3. In the Paragraph dialog box, click the checkbox next to Collapsed by default.

  4. Click OK.

Want more?

Create a document outline in Outline view

Outline view tips

Here's a handy trick you can use when you're having trouble navigating a large document.

Right-click a heading, click Expand/Collapse, and click Collapse All Headings.

Now with all the body text out of the way, it's easier to browse through the document.

The collapsed headings become something like a table of contents.

To expand a section, click this triangle. And click it again to collapse the section.

If you want to see all the text, click Expand All Headings.

If you can't collapse a heading, it's either because you are using an earlier version of Word – it only works in Word 2013 – or the headings aren't formatted using one of the built-in heading styles.

In this case, the writer added formatting to make it look like a heading, but as you can see in the Styles gallery, it's still formatted as Normal.

To change that, choose one of the heading styles. When you add a heading style, you add an outline level to the paragraph.

And when you do that the triangle appears and you can collapse the heading.

Collapsible headings are great for helping you read a document, but they can also be a time-saver when you are writing.

While you are editing a document, you can select one or more collapsed headings to quickly Copy, Move, or Delete whole sections.

Or, you can click and drag a section to a new location.

When you are deciding how you want readers to navigate the document, you can lay it out with collapsible headings in mind.

For example, if you are designing the document to be read on a computer, you can collapse all the headings by default.

Select all the headings you want to collapse.

Then, on the HOME tab, click the Paragraph dialog box launcher, and check Collapsed by default.

Now, when readers open the document, they can use the collapsed headings like a table of contents – choose the section they want to read and click the triangle to expand it.

Here's one last thing to keep in mind. Collapsed sections don't print.

So typically you'll want to expand all headings before you print a document.

But you could, for example, use collapse and expand to selectively print only the sections you want.

Click the FILE tab and Print. Print preview shows you exactly what will go to the printer.

So, collapsible headings can make it easier to read and quickly organize a document.

But, if you're really serious about organizing a document, you should look into Outline view.

For more information about that and other related topics, check out the links in the course summary.

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