Use the Navigation Pane in Word to Easily Reorganize Documents

Microsoft Word is packed with features that improve usability and workflow efficiency. Navigation Pane is a great example, and you can use it to navigate headings, search your document for text or objects, and even easily reorganize your documents.

Reorganizing Documents with the Navigation Pane

First, you’ll need to display the Navigation Pane. You can switch to the “View” tab and select the “Navigation Pane” checkbox or simply press Ctrl+F.

Open Navigation Pane in Microsoft Word

Note: If you select the “Navigation Pane” checkbox, the pane will automatically appear even when opening a new Word document. If you don’t want this to happen, be sure to deselect this option when you’re done with it.

When you open the Navigation Pane, make sure you’re viewing the “Headings” tab. If you enabled the pane using the checkbox on the View menu, that should be selected automatically. If you open it with Ctrl+F, it will show you the “Results” tab by default.

With the “Headings” tab selected, the pane shows you all the headings and subheadings in your document, laid out in a nice tree view.

Clicking a heading jumps right to that heading in your document view. Right-clicking a heading reveals a menu that lets you promote or demote headings a level, insert new headings, or even delete headings.

Just be warned. When you delete a heading in the navigation pane, Word also deletes all text and objects under that heading—not just the heading paragraph itself. It’s used for removing whole sections of your document.

Reorganize headings in Microsoft Word

Word also lets you drag and drop heading to reorganize sections easily. This is especially useful, for example, when you’re trying to put together an outline.

Finally, if you use the search box at the top of the pane, Word will highlight all of the sections where search results appear.

Search Word Doc

It’s pretty handy!

Profile Photo for Marshall Gunnell Marshall Gunnell
Marshall is a writer with experience in the data storage industry. He worked at Synology, and most recently as CMO and technical staff writer at StorageReview. He's currently an API/Software Technical Writer based in Tokyo, Japan, runs VGKAMI and ITEnterpriser, and spends what little free time he has learning Japanese.
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