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Create a document outline

Document in outline view and print layout view

On the left, the entire first page shown in outline view; on the right, the same page in print layout view. Note the absence of paragraph handles and the indentation shifts.

Your outline is complete, your headings and initial ideas are in place, and you're ready to write more of the details. Now's the time to switch out of outline view and into a view that better supports larger expanses of text.

To leave outline view, click the View menu, and select the view that you want to work in:

  • Print layout view shows you how text, graphics, and other elements will be positioned on the page. This view is necessary if you want to see headers and footers, adjust margins, and perform other layout-related editing.
  • Normal view shows text formatting in a simple layout. This view is best when you want to type and edit quickly.
  • Web layout view is useful when you're creating a Web page and want to get a close representation of how your document will look as a Web page.

When you switch out of outline view, you'll see that the formatting particular to the outline—for example, the indents that help demarcate the overall structure—are no longer visible. Instead, the visual cues are provided to you (and your readers) through varied heading styles.

If you find you want to quickly re-organize any of your document, or view its overall structure, just switch back to outline view. You can also print your outline; just make sure your document is in outline view when you print.

Note that when you print, the paragraph handles (plus sign Expand symbol (plus), minus sign Collapse symbol (minus), and square Body text symbol ) do not appear, and indentation may not look exactly the way it does on the screen.

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