Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Word Tip Wednesday: Styles and Document Map

I figured out this cool tip from this post by MG Higgins. Thanks, MG!

Today's tool is a little more complicated to set up, but once it's set up, it'll save a lot of time on formatting and your manuscript will be so organized. Hopefully, I can explain it clearly.  :)

First, you'll want to make sure you've put in a Page Break at the end of each chapter. It's under the Insert tab.* Just place your cursor after the last punctuation at the end of your chapter and click Page Break.

This will insert a clean break between chapters that won't be changed if you add or remove text from the document. Well, unless you delete the Page Break, and in that case, you'll have to insert a new one.

Update: You can also insert a page break by typing CTRL+RETURN/ENTER. Thanks, Stina Lindenblatt, for sharing! :)

So, now that that's in place you can create a new style for your chapter heading. It's under the Home tab.

Select your chapter heading within the document and click on the arrow in the bottom corner of the Styles box.

This window will pop up. Select the button in the bottom left hand corner.

This window will pop up so you can create a new style for your chapter headings.

These are the settings I use, but you can adjust them according to your own preferences. The only thing I recommend is that you make sure the "New documents based on this template" circle is selected. That way you don't have to do this every time you start a new document. :)

My settings center the chapter title in bold about a third of the way down the page and leave a couple of lines between the chapter title and the first paragraph of the chapter. It's also set to automatically insert a page break before the chapter title so you can skip the page break step we discussed earlier if you set your Chapter Headings style to do it.

Most of the changes can be made in this window, but not all. To change the spacing before and after your chapter title, click the Format button in the bottom left hand corner of the Create New Style window and select Paragraph. This window will pop up.

Change your spacing by adjusting the numbers under spacing. These are the numbers I use, but you can play around with until it looks right to you.

Note: It is important that your Outline Level is set to Level 1. This affects how it appears in Document Map--we'll get to this in just a minute.

Click on the Line and Page Breaks tab and select "Page break before" to have it automatically insert a page break before your chapter title.

Note: Your "Widow/Orphan control" button is probably selected automatically. Whether or not you keep this on is a personal preference. This is what makes your text hop to the next page if there's only one or two lines from that paragraph on the page. I guess this is to keep the paragraphs all together with their families (no widows or orphans). ;) It annoys me, so I always turn it off.

Once you've set all your settings according to your preferences, click OK on all the boxes to close them.

Now, all you have to do to format your chapter headings throughout your document is select each one individually and click on the Chapter Headings button that should now appear in the Styles box under the Home tab.

If you ever need to modify the settings, simply click the arrow in the bottom right hand corner of the Styles box to bring up the styles menu. Click the pull down arrow next to Chapter Headings, select Modify and you can make any adjustments there just as you did when you created the style.

You can also adjust your Normal settings (the default formatting settings for a new document) by following the same steps, except instead of selecting the arrow next to Chapter Headings, you would select the arrow next to Normal.

Okay, now that all your chapter titles are formatted, go to your View menu and select Document Map.

That will bring up this on the left side of your screen.

Obviously, it will list your chapter titles, not mine, but it works as a table of contents to allow you to go to any chapter you need to without scrolling through the whole document. Pretty cool, huh?

And if you click on the pull down arrow next to Document Map, you can select Thumbnails to see thumbnails of all your pages. I like that I can quickly check the appearance of all the formatting this way and check for rogue blank pages. And I think it looks really cool, because it makes it look like a real book. :)

Wow. That was way longer than I thought it would be, but hopefully it helps some of you. If you have any questions or my explanations confused you more than helped you, please let me know in the comments and I'll try to be clearer. :)

So, how many of you are already using these features? Anybody use these features for anything else? Anything you want to add?

More Word tips posts here

*Microsoft Word 2007


  1. Awesome. I learned a few new things. THANK YOU!!!

  2. Wow! I had no idea Word was capable of so much. I love this. I don't have time to mess with it right now, but I'm bookmarking this post for later use. Thanks!

  3. I'm definitely going to try this out!

    You can also do page break by holding down CTRL and pressing RETURN.

  4. Holy Zombies, this is AWESOME! Thanks so much!!

    Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

  5. I love this! I keep seeing those words in Word (lol) but I ignore them because I have no idea what they mean. But this would be so helpful!

    Do you know how to set my header/footer so it always uses TNR 12? Mine keeps coming up Tahoma, even though TNR is my default font.

    Also, do you know how to set a default style for reviewing? Again, the text etc., when I'm reviewing keeps coming up Courier or something, when I want it to be TNR. I can change the color of my track changes and such and that all works - I just can't change the darn font!

    More fodder for Word Tip Wednesday! And thanks again for today's ... I will totally try it out!

  6. wow. i had no idea. when do you have time for this? :) btw, love the new blog look and i see you added your picture. cool.

  7. Huh. Interesting! There's clearly a lot i don't know about Word

  8. This is awesome...again! I knew none of this stuff!!!! Thank you, bunches! :)

  9. There is so much about Word I don't know!! Thanks for this awesome tutorial. I'm off to play with it so it all sinks in my brain!

  10. I learned something new! I'll have to try some of this with my ms. Definitely bookmarking this post. Thanks!

  11. This is a fabulous post! I've always had trouble figuring out the Styles in Word, but your picture guide is beautiful and easy to follow. Thanks so much for sharing.

  12. I always do the page break thing, but I didn't realize the chapter heading tool! awesome. thanks for sharing!

  13. Me again :)) Just wanted to say thanks again! I went through Word and followed all your steps. So cool! Love the Document Map option, especially since I'm writing in scenes right now, not chapters. At a glance, all my scene titles are right there on the document map list when I need to reference something I've already written. Awesome!!

  14. Glad it's been helpful to so many of you! :)

  15. Thanks for a valuable post. It has helped me so much today!

  16. What fantastic tips! I have yet to do this but it seems worth the effort! Thanks! And I like the new look.

  17. Thank you so much for that! I love learning new things. I use a fiction writing program that helps me break out my chapters, I loves it but in case I ever switch back, I have the tools. Thanks!

  18. Oh awesome! I was just looking for the page break thingy. I didn't do that last time (because of I never did on on old Word) and my manuscript got really screwy.

  19. Mine isn't working, for some odd reason. Especially the Document Map, which I think would be really useful and have been trying to get to work for a while now. Do you have any idea why that happens?

  20. I'm using Word 2007. The problem is the Document Map isn't showing the right headings. It's just showing me random places in the text instead of showing me the chapter titles.

    Thanks, by the way.

  21. Remilda: The reason it's doing this--and I don't know if it's a glitch or what, because it happens to me too--but some of your text has been given some level of heading status, making it appear in your document map.

    Try this to fix it.

    First, if you nervous about messing something up, save a second copy of your file so you can easily go back to previous settings if something doesn't go right.

    Next, following the steps I outlined in this post, make sure your Normal style is set the way you'd want a ms formatted--TNR, 12pt, double-spaced, outline level set to Body Text, etc. Then do a select all (ctrl+a), this should highlight all your text. Now select the Normal style button from your Home menu. This should reset all your text and erase everything from your document map.

    You'll have to go through and select and reset all your chapter headings, but this should fix the problem.

    Or you can select each item in your document map and change them individually to the Normal style. Whichever you think will be faster.

    If this doesn't work, please let me know, and I'll see if I can come up with another suggestion. :)

  22. It's fixed! Thank you very much for the help!

  23. You're very welcome, Remilda! Glad it worked. :)

  24. Thank you so much for this post! I loved playing around with the settings, and it makes my manuscript look much neater. Going to spread the word now.

  25. Great, the outline level is just what I was looking for! Thank you.

  26. Great, the outline level for document map setting is exactly what I was looking for! Thank you.