Outline Levels and the Document Map
Article contributed by Daiya
The Document Map (View>Document Map) is a great feature that can make
navigating a long document much easier. However, in earlier versions of Word, it
can create some glitches.
The Document Map requires outline levels to function. When you switch into
the Document Map, it applies outline levels to things it thinks are
headings—usually short, one line paragraphs—regardless of whether you already
have headings in the document. It's a bug, or a badly designed feature if you
are in a charitable mood. The Document Map cannot operate without these outline
levels, but ideally it would have checked to see if any already existed before
applying its own. It doesn't. Then random text shows up in the Document Map, and
sometimes, in your Table of Contents.
- This problem has been reported in all Mac versions of Word, and in Win
versions from 97 to 2002. It appears to have been fixed in WinWord 2003.
- For MVP Shauna Kelly’s excellent page on using the Document Map in
WinWord 2002 and 2003, see
page also mentions a couple of other minor bugs related to the Document Map.
- In MacWord 2004, View>Document Map has been replaced with
View>Navigation Pane, and the Navigation Pane offers the choice of a
Thumbnail view or the Document Map. It’s still the same Document Map.
Don't use the Document Map—use
instead. That's a bit drastic, but Outline View lets you do a lot more than
simply navigate, if you read the article.
On switching into the Document Map, look to see if a new AutoFormat has been
added to the Undo list (the dropdown list from the Undo icon on the toolbar).
That's the application of outline levels. Undo it. Remember to check for this
every time, though it may not happen every time.
If the main problem is that your Table of Contents has
entries you don’t want, you can prevent the Table of Contents from picking up
paragraphs that have been assigned outline levels as direct formatting. Simply
press Alt-F9 (Mac: Opt-F9) to display field codes. For the TOC field, delete the
\u switch and then press F9 to update the TOC. [Thanks to MVP Stefan Blom for
If only a few paragraphs are affected, you can use the
ResetPara command on the affected paragraphs. This will remove all direct
paragraph formatting and reset the paragraph to only style-based formatting (the
Document Map adds outline levels as direct formatting). ResetPara will not
affect direct character formatting (bold, italic, etc) and the usual keyboard
shortcut is Control-Q (Command-Option-Q on a Mac).
If changing each paragraph individually is not feasible, you
can run this handy macro by MVP Klaus Linke. It will reset the outline level of
every paragraph to the outline level that is set in the style. It does not
affect any other formatting.
For Each myPara In
If you don’t know what to do with this macro, see this article: "What do I do
with macros sent to me by other users to help me out?"