How to Navigate Around A long Word Document To Edit It.

Formatting or editing a short word document is easier. However, if you are formatting or editing a document that is more than 50 pages, getting around the document can be challenging. Particularly, if you are an average Word user. So, the easiest thing to do it is let some technical people with text processing skills do it.  The problem with this is that the completion of the document is at the mercy of those people. Also, the security of the document is not guaranteed if necessary, protection measures are not in place. So, the alternative option is to design and complete the document yourself so that you take full control of the outcome.

Microsoft Word has by default given great document design features so that anyone can design a professional document by him/her self, without necessarily requiring the skills of technical text processing skills. Here is how to design a professional looking document and to easily navigate around it. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a sort 5-page document or those with more than 50 pages.

Microsoft Word Document Design

First thing to do is choose a document Design. This design features are available under the Design Tab on the Ribbon. The main design features are as follows

  • Themes
  • Document Formatting
  • Colors
  • Watermark
  • Page Color
  • Page Borders
  • Paragraph Spacing

Based on the Theme selection, the color and font and other and general style is set. Paragraph Spacing sets the different line spacing and with the watermark setting you can set water mark images, indicate different security and document stages. For example, Confidential, Draft, Do Not Copy and etc.

Why design setting are necessary is because, it sets the tone, color and general feel of the document. So, once they are set, you continue to work on your document. Using a document design has the following advantages.

  1. Cuts down on formatting time  after completing your document.
  2. Maintains consistency in terms of Headings, subheadings and sub-subheadings and paragraph spacing.
  3. Apply consistent headings styles
  4. Easily insert Automated Table of Contents
  5. Builds the document navigation menu based on Heading styles.

Setting Preferred Fonts

When a Theme is selected, Default font settings of that particular theme is applied to the document. However, if you require a different font and size requirements for the document headings, sub-heading and etc, then you can change the font settings and  while the theme remains intact.

  1. Go to Insert tab on the ribbon.
  2. Under Styles, click the More button to get the Styles pane. In the Styles pane, select the different style, like Normal, Heading, Heading2, etc and click on the down arrow and click Modify. This will open up the Modify Style dialog box.
  3. Now, change the Font, Font Size and Colour. Rule of thumb is to chose a single font for all styles but with different front sizes. For example, Font Roman Times, Heading1, size = 16, Heading2,  size = 14, Normal, size = 12. This is to maintain some level of consistency. Otherwise, depending on your document outcome needs, different fonts can be used.

Figure 1.1 Styles pane and modify dialog box.

Applying Document Styles.

Applying the appropriate heading styles is important. Word will compile the navigation pane menu based on applied heading styles. Don’t try complete the document before you start applying the styles. This means you have to scroll through each page to set the appropriate heading or subheadings.  Apply the Heading styles as you write so that word will start building the navigation pane menu listing for you. In that way, navigation around the document becomes manageable as your page number increases.

You can always change the style later if need be.

Navigation Pane.

Navigation pane is the one stop navigation point of your document. By default, the pane is not activated or shown. To display is it do the following;

  • Click View tab on the ribbon. Under Show command group, check the Navigation Pane checkbox.

This will display the navigation pane on the left of the document as shown below.

You can now navigate the document by clicking on the Headings, Pages or Results.

Document Search Box.

The document search box in the Navigation pane is a powerful search box, where key words can be typed into it and Word will do a search in the document and display results based on those keywords.

Also, the drop-down list on document search box enables for searching important document elements such, as tables, comments, graphics, equations and etc. For example, if Graphics is selected, word will highlight the headings under which graphics are inserted. This helps in going straight to the particular graphic during editing or formatting of the document.

Inserting an Automated Table Of Contents.

If the document design features and appropriate heading styles are applied, the creation of an automated table of content is so easy.

  1. For the very first page of the document by pressing Ctrl + Home keys on the keyboard.
  2. Insert the cursor where the table of content needs to be inserted.
  3. Click References tab on the ribbon, and under Table of Contents, select the desired format for the table of contents.
  4. The table of content will be automatically inserted.

Updating the Table Of Contents.

Once the table of content is inserted, you can continue to work on your document until you finished it. During editing or formatting of your document, the content will change. For example, one heading may be shifted to a new page or move backwards. You don’t worry because you can easily update the table of content and page numbers will automatically change.

  1. Click on the table of content.
  2. At the top of the table, Update button will be shown, click on it.
  3. Select, Update Entire table.










The entire table of content will be updated to accommodate the changes.

Full Article On Creating A Automated Table Of Contents.

For a more detail instructions on how to create an document outline and automatic table of contents, check the this separate post:

How to Create An Automated Table of Content.