Using the navigation pane in Word


The Navigation Pane in Word is a really neat tool when you are working with any document that contains several (or more) sections. It allows you to see your document structure, change the levels of headings easily and rearrange sections of work with a simple drag and drop action. This posting explains how to use these features in Word.

Go to View > Show > Navigation Pane to open the navigation pane in Word.


A left hand pane will open which is the Navigation Pane. If your document contains no headings styles it will say so. (If you don’t use heading styles you should – here is post that explains how). However if you have used heading styles throughout your document it will show them like this.


Notice how the headings are shown with indents indicating the different levels, making it easy to see how the document is organised.

Expand and collapse sections using the triangles
  • A triangle indicates headings that have subheadings and clicking on the triangle allows you to expand or collapse the subheadings.
Use the Navigation Pane to get around your document
  • Clicking on any of the headings takes you straight to that part of the document so you can use it as a quick way to get around a large document.
Use the right click menu to control what you see, change heading levels and print and delete specific sections
  • Right clicking on any of the headings in the Navigation Pane brings up the right click menu which has some handy tools.


  • Use the Expand All, Collapse All and Show Heading Levels tools to control how many levels of subheadings you see.
  • Use the Promote and Demote tools to change the level of individual headings. Their subheadings will also change correspondingly and so will the look of the heading.
  • Use Print Heading and Content to print out only specified sections of the document.
  • Use the Delete to delete both a heading and the content that is under that heading.
Use drag and drop to rearrange sections
  • The Navigation Pane also has a very handy drag and drop feature. Just click and hold the left mouse button on the heading of the section you want to move and drag it to a new place on the navigation pane. The heading and all the text below it will be moved. Any subsections will also move with it.