Create an outline

Organizing information into an outline requires multiple levels of numbering, one of the reasons outlines in Word are called multilevel lists instead of outlines.

If you want to view your current document in outline form, Outline view tips is what you’re after.

Multilevel List, or the outline feature, is the sometimes overlooked but very useful button next to Home>Paragraph>Numbering.

To begin an outline, do this:

  1. Click Home, and then click the arrow next to Paragraph>Multilevel List.

Word 2010 multi-level list styles

  1. Choose an outline style from the List Library. Point to each outline style in the library to view all the levels for the style.

  2. Start typing to begin the list. Press Enter when you finish the line to start a new line.

  3. When you want a new list level, press the Tab key and begin typing.

  4. Press Enter to return to the previous list level.

    Tips    Word likes to automatically create lists as you type. When you start a paragraph with an asterisk or a number 1., Word sees that you’re trying to start a bulleted or numbered list. If you don't want your text turned into a list, you can click the AutoCorrect Options button that appears.

    AutoCorrect options menu

Turn a one-level list into an outline

You can turn an existing list into an outline by changing the levels of items in the list.

  1. Click any numbered line that you want to make a different level.

  2. Click Home, click the arrow next to Paragraph> Numbering, and then click Change List Level.

    Word 2010 change list level

  3. Click the level that you want.

Applies To: Word 2013

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