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Create a document outline

Expanded and collapsed views of an outline

Callout 1 The Introduction, Guidelines, and Benefits entries are expanded so that their sub-entries and body text show.
Callout 2 The Introduction, Guidelines, and Benefits entries are collapsed so that all subordinate information is hidden.

Once your main ideas are in place, it's almost certain that you'll want to shift entries around until your outline's structure is refined. It's easy to move entries in outline view, as well as to expand or collapse sections for easier viewing and moving, and to promote or demote information to lesser or greater prominence.

This lesson describes how to quickly accomplish all of this fine-tuning, starting here with expanding and collapsing. When you've finished reading this page, click the Next button to continue the lesson on your own.


As you formulate ideas or complete outline sections, it can help your thought process to minimize visual clutter. To do this, you can selectively collapse subheadings so that they're no longer visible under their higher-level heading. (Think of the way that you use expandable and collapsible folders in Microsoft® Windows® Explorer to organize information; expanding and collapsing outline entries works on the same principle.)

To collapse expanded information, locate the plus sign Expand symbol (plus) to the left of the heading and double-click it. When the subheadings are collapsed, a squiggly line appears beneath the higher-level heading, providing a visual cue that there's subordinate information collapsed within it.

To re-expand the information, double-click the plus sign Expand symbol (plus) again. You can also use the Collapse Button image and Expand Button image buttons on the Outlining toolbar.

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