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Convert from Outline View in MS Word to one of the Non-outline Views and back again

Posted on 2011-03-11
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2012-05-11

In 2008, I posted a question on EE (ID: 23567870) regarding MS Word and how to convert from Outline View to one of the Non-outline Views and back again.  The response seemed quite cumbersome since it involved using additional software, etc.

Because this continued to be a source of frustration, I placed a similar post, last year, on an MS Word support site and received only a brief answer.  On  that same site however, I found a similar question posted by someone else which seemed to have a more detailed response.

For your convenience I have pasted both questions along with the responses, below.

The problem I'm having now is understanding the two responses and I would appreciate some assistance either in explaining the responses or giving me a better/more understandable reponse of your own.


Question #1:

[b]Toggle between Outline View and non-Outline View[/b]


In the next version of MS Word, please create an easy way to toggle between
Outline View and a regular numbered or bulleted outline in Print View or
Normal View.

Many people do not use Outline View and become frustrated when they receive
a Word document prepared in that view. They are faced with either losing the
outline structure including the level insets (if the doc is converted to a
non-Outline view) or staying in Outline View and being frustrated with the
navigation. Many of these people however are very comfortable using a
numbered or bulleted outline created in Print View or Normal View (i.e. I,
A,1, a, i, etc.).

On the other hand, many people who do use Outline View with no numbering or
bulleting find it very useful in the majority of Word documents they create.
However, as soon as they want to share a document with someone else, they
must either spend the time to convert it to an numbered or bulleted outline
in a non-Outline View or take the time to explain how to use Outline View to
the recipient.

It would be fantastic to be able to simply toggle a document between the two
Views in a way that Outline View functionality is preserved (collapsing,
expanding, etc.) in one and the other allows a user to see numbering or
bulleting and level insets plus have all the functionality they are used to
in Print View, etc.

This would be a extremely valuable function and save a huge amount of time.

Thank you

Note that Outline view and a numbered outline are two different things. To
combine them, associate your headings with an outline-numbered (multilevel) list.

Question #2:

Outline View seems as if it hasn't been touched in years. When I'm faced
with doing an outline in Word, the outline number lists (under bullets and
numbering) provide me with far more flexibility and ease of use than Outline

So how about doing away with Outline View and "replace" it with bullets and
numbering. This way, clicking on Outline View provides you with an easy
editing environment for bullets and numbering (e.g. with collapse-able
headings, etc.) and we're not faced with the bizarre, unreadable font style
choices that currently plague Outline View.

I don't agree. Outline view is excellent for getting an overview of a large
document's structure and moving things around within that structure.

If you want to do the same with your numbered lists, make sure to set the
paragraph level from "body text" to a Level nr. (Best way is to link your
numbering with styles, and have the list level part of the each style's

Question by:Steve_Brady
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LVL 77

Expert Comment

ID: 35115053
Hi Steve,

I can't quite see the what difficulty you have with switching between the different views. It only needs a couple of clicks on the View menu or View tab, depending on the Word version.
LVL 37

Expert Comment

by:Neil Russell
ID: 35115628
What versino of word are you using? This is a very simple task.

In office 2010 Click on the VIEW ribon and select Outline

LVL 77

Expert Comment

ID: 35115740
Ah. Do you want the Print View, and hence the printed document to look more like the Outline View?

Apart for the plus and minus signs, the main difference is in the left indentation. In the Outline View, the paragraph formatting is ignored, and the indention is determined by the Outline level.

It is possible to set the indentation of every paragraph individually. Quicker would be to reformat each paragraph's style. In that way all the paragraphs of each style in the document would be changed at once. So you could, say, set 'Heading 2' style left indent to 1cm, 'Heading 3' to 2 cms, etc.

If you don't always want those indent setting to apply to every document, you could create different style sets and apply to the document as you wish.
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Author Comment

ID: 35116994
>>I can't quite see the what difficulty you have with switching between the different views. It only needs a couple of clicks on the View menu or View tab, depending on the Word version.

>>This is a very simple task.
In office 2010 Click on the VIEW ribon and select Outline

Sorry.  I thought the question was clearer than that but two of you seemed to think (at least intially) that I was asking simply how to move back and forth between views -- literally.

Hopefully the following screenshots will help to clarify things. Please note however, that the wording is somewhat confusing and I, at least, have had trouble keeping things straight.  This is mainly because the word "outline" can refer to different things.  One simply refers to the structure in which information (even if handwritten) can be organized, and is unrelated to any settings in word.  The other is an actual view option in MS Word which is found in the View tab.  Hopefully the following clearly distinguishes those two.

Fig. 1 shows a Word doc created in Outline View as noted by the highlighted Outline option in the View menu:
When the Print Layout view option is selected for that same file, any sense of an outline or leveled structure is lost (Fig. 2):
Conversely, if the other type of Word outline is created (using bullets and/or numbering, etc. Fig. 3)
it also has a leveled appearance but is not in the View menu's Outline View (Fig. 4):
but if Outline View is selected, it, like in the first case, loses its leveled outline structure (Fig. 5):
I am trying to determine an easy way to move between the different views without losing the outline structure or appearance.

LVL 77

Expert Comment

ID: 35117092
OK. I do think that my second interpretation corresponds to what you are asking for. Namely to have indentation in  print view similar to the Outline view.

Outline view specifically fixes the indentation according to the level setting in the paragraph style, and ignores the actual indentation setting for the paragraph. To re-iterate, you can set the indentation level for any paragraph (directly or via its style) to suit your requirement. It doesn't need any programming to do that.

Also, to emphasise, from 2007 on, there is the ability to create style sets, so that you could use that to switch between an indented and a non-indented view. It wouldn't be the same as using the Outline view, in that promotion and demotion as well as collapsing would not be available.  

Author Comment

ID: 35118513
>>Namely to have indentation in  print view similar to the Outline view.

Thanks a bunch for the response Graham!  That is exactly what I am after!

Outline View is a funny thing.  Most all of the people I have come across who use it, swear by it and get crazy if they have to use the Bullet/Numbering approach.  I'm included in that group.  In contrast, those who don't use it, generally don't understand it and tend to get even more crazy if they have to deal with a file in that (Outline View) format.

Therefore, your comment that:

>>It wouldn't be the same as using the Outline view, in that promotion and demotion as well as collapsing would not be available.

is not only, not a problem, but just what I'm looking for!

The best possible scenario for me would be to do all my MS Word work in Outline View and then as soon as a file needs to go to someone else for whatever reason, be able to switch it to a bullet/number outline so they can do whatever (editing, etc.) and then when it comes back to me, switch it back to Outline View and carry on.

If that is doable then I am ecstatic and, even though it is only early March, you have already won my Personal Solution of the Year award!  You may have not heard of that award before but it is a highly coveted achievement.  You don't actually receive anything -- just the honor and prestige of winning one of the most sought-after awards on EE!  :)  

Actually, now that I think of it, I could fashion some nice chevrons in PowerPoint and email them to you.  Of course, you would have to print them and then cut them out but once that's done, you could attach them to your collar or shirt sleeve with a safety pin or just hang them from your rear-view mirror next to the fuzzy dice and the tassel from your graduation cap.

Sorry, kind of off track there but I am just giddy about the possibility of getting a solution that has alluded me for 6-7 years -- or maybe even longer!

By the way, I have always been confused by styles, etc. (even though it fills up most of my Home tab).  If you wouldn't mind, it would be extremely helpful if you could attach a simple example file.  Being able to see how it looks when I toggle back and forth between Outline and Non-outline views and then examine what you did setting-wise to achieve that would be awesome and help me immensely.  Usually, if I can see something done once in a simple way then I can expand it to all my needs.  Also, any additional comments that might help me understand it better are also most appreciated.

Thanks again for your help!
LVL 77

Accepted Solution

GrahamSkan earned 2000 total points
ID: 35121259
Here is a QuickStyle template that works with Headings one to four. It needs go in the Quickstyles folder in your profile. In Win 7, that is here:

C:\Users\*User Name*\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\QuickStyles

Once it is there, the name QS1 should appear in your list of quickstyles.

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