Friday, March 22

How to Format Your Document Using Document Map

Hello everyone!

A few of you have asked me how I keep my manuscript so tidy and organized, so I thought I would show you! I found this technique very helpful in university when I wrote my giant term papers, and of course, I use them with my stories!

Ever wonder how you can get to Chapter Sixteen without having to scroll through half of your manuscript? Well, with Word it’s possible!

Below is a screen capture of my WIP.

As you can see on the left-hand side, there is a bar that says Document Map and below it are my chapters. All I have to do is click on one of those and it brings me right to the beginning of that chapter. No need to scroll anywhere!

This is extremely helpful, especially if you are checking on something and need to flip between chapters quickly. I also include my chapter breaks, so I can get anywhere in my manuscript with a simple click.

So how do you it? It’s actually incredibly easy. The steps are below.

Note: These instructions are for Microsoft Office Word 2007. The same steps should apply to other versions, but you might need to search a bit.

Step One: Save your manuscript. Nothing should happen, but it never hurts to be safe.

Step Two: Go to your VIEW toolbar. You should see a box option for DOCUMENT MAP. Click the box so there’s a checkmark. The Document Map bar along the left-hand side of the screen should appear. If there are a lot of words filling it up, don’t worry, we will deal with that in a moment.

Step Three: Select everything in your manuscript and right click. I can do this quickly by going back to my HOME and using the button on the far right that says SELECT and then SELECT ALL. Once everything is highlighted, right click. A box will appear—click on PARAGRAPH. In my version of Word, it’s the 5th option down. This box will appear:

Step Four: The second dropdown menu should say OUTLINE LEVEL. Click on that and select BODY TEXT then click OK. Now your Document Map sidebar should be completely blank.

Step Five: Go to your Chapter One heading in your document. Highlight the words you want to use and right click. Select PARAGRAPH again. The same box should appear. Click on OUTLINE LEVEL again, but this time select LEVEL 1 and click OK. Now you should have Chapter One in the sidebar under Document Map like I do in the picture above. Now when you click on Chapter One in your Document Map, it should go right there, no matter where you are in the manuscript. Scroll somewhere else in your manuscript and test it out. If something isn't working, go back and see if you missed something =)

Step Six: Let’s say you have a chapter break in the middle of Chapter One like I do. Go to your break and highlight the symbols you use to indicate a break. I use three stars: ***. Highlight those, right click, and select PARAGRAPH. Click on OUTLINE LEVEL again, but this time, select LEVEL 2 and hit OK. Now you should have a document map that looks like the picture below.

As well, if you have three chapter breaks in chapter one, you can include all of them in your Document Map. It will look like this:

So there you have it! I keep my Document Map checked all the time, even when I'm critiquing or beta reading for friends. Some of them use Document Map, so it makes it easy to go anywhere in the manuscript.

I hope you guys found this helpful! If you have any questions, you can ask me in the comments or you can email me: nataliemurphy[at]live[dot]ca



  1. I've bookmarked this, Natalie - and where were you when I shelled out money for Scrivener? I'm seeing that Word has some awesome features (and I happen to love word - finding it hard to get into Scrivener).

    Thanks for sharing this information :)

  2. I thought I'd discovered everything you could do in word but this never came up. Excellent instructions. Thanks so much for posting them.
    Teresa R.

  3. Janet- Heheh, I'm sorry. I love Word, too. A lot of people find it complicated, but I think it's quite simple once you know where to look. Of course, I had to learn a lot of these tricks and techniques for university. I'll try and come up with more Word secrets for another post.

    You're welcome!! =)

  4. Teresa- Hello! Thank you for stopping by =) Oh good, I'm glad they were clear. I wanted to make sure they were easy to follow. Once you know how to do it, it becomes second nature. You're welcome! =)

  5. Thanks for sharing! I use WriteWayPro, but love learning Word secrets.

  6. Jen- You're welcome =) I adore Word--I just find it easy to use and navigate.

  7. Interesting post, Natalie. I'll watch for your future "lessons." I'm a longtime WordPerfect user, but I'm learning about Word. Appreciate the tips!

  8. Pat- Hopefully I'll be able to come up with some more lessons. We shall see! =) You're welcome.


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