How to Use the Google Docs Outline Tool with Screenshots and Video!


Google Docs is a great tool for writing. However, if you are writing long-form documents in Google Docs, it can be hard to navigate to the section you want without scrolling constantly. Fortunately, Google Docs provides a tool with Google Docs that allows you to quickly navigate to a specific section of your document. This feature is called the Google Docs Outline Tool.

While we will show you each step in the process with diagrams in this article the quick steps to using the Google Docs Outline Tool are the following:

  • Open you Google Docs document
  • Edit your headings to use the following conventions in Google Docs:
    • Title
    • H1
    • H2
  • To the left of your document, click the “Outline” button to reveal the document in outline form

That’s all you need to do. You will have an outline to the left of your document. You can click on any of the headings and you will be taken to that section of the document. Pretty neat, huh?

Before we get started, if you are looking to learn even more about Google Docs or other apps, Skillshare is a great resource to check out. Skillshare has courses on Google Docs, Microsoft Office, Notion, Evernote, Todoist, Things 3, Trello and more. To learn more, click on the link below:

Skillshare – Online Learning

If you are looking to learn how to sort a list in Google Docs alphabetically quickly, check out my article at the link below:

How to Sort a List Alphabetically in Google Docs

Now, let’s get started learning how to use the Google Docs Outline Tool.

Open Your Google Doc in Google Docs

Open up Google Docs and navigate to your document and open it.

Add a Title to your Document

If you haven’t already done so, add a title to your document and format it as a title in Google Docs.

To format text as a title in Google Docs, do the following:

Select the text you want to highlight by clicking and holding the mouse button and dragging your cursor from the beginning to the end of the text you want to make the title.

Next, under the Format menu option, there is a drop-down menu that has a default setting of “Normal text” (see screenshot above for location). Click on that drop-down menu and select “Title”. Your text will now be formatted as the title.

Add H1 and H2 Headings to your Document in Google Docs

Now that we have the title set up, let’s go through our document and format your headings as H1 and H2 heading as needed. H1 headings are major section headings while H2 headings are sub-headings inside of a H1 heading.

To configure your headings as H1 or H2 headings in Google Docs, do the following:

Select the text you want to highlight by clicking and holding the mouse button and dragging your cursor from the beginning to the end of the text you want to make the title.

Next, under the Format menu option, there is a drop-down menu that has a default setting of “Normal text” (see screenshot above for location). Click on that drop-down menu and select “H1” or “H2” depending on whether this is a heading of a section or a sub-section of an H1 section. Your text will now be formatted appropriately.

Repeat this throughout your document until all of the headings in your document are formatted appropriately.

Click the “Outline” button

Once you have your title and all your headings configured in your document accordingly, click the “Outline” button to the left of your document as shown in the screenshot above.

As you can see in the screenshot above, a full outline of your entire document will appear to the left of your document! To navigate to a specific section of the document, simply click on the heading of that section and Google Docs will take you to that particular section of the document.

Summary

Google Docs is a powerful tool for quickly creating documents. As our documents become longer, however, we need a way to quickly navigate our documents. Google Docs provides the Outline Tool as a quick and easy way to both quickly and easily view the structure of our document as well as navigate to the section we want quickly. I hope you found this tutorial helpful.

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