Google Docs Outline: Your Guide to Using it Efficiently

Emily Goorevich
Emily Goorevich  |  June 10, 2019

Writing a lengthy document can be difficult to manage.

If you have a document that is dozens of pages long, you don't want to be spending too much time jumping around from one section to another. Luckily, the Google Docs outline tool makes navigating long documents a breeze and allows users to quickly find the sections they need.

How to use Google Docs Outline tool

Need a shortcut? We’ve got you covered:

To make your work more manageable, follow this step-by-step guide:

1 . Click “View” in the toolbar

To start, find the toolbar that is placed horizontally across the top of the page. Move your cursor to the “View” button and click.

Google Docs outline

2. Select “Show document outline”

After clicking “View,” a drop-down menu will appear. From the menu options, choose “Show document outline.” 

Google Docs Outline


3. Format your document

Once you select “Show document outline,” the outline of your document will appear on the left-hand pane of your document. However, without using format tools such as headers, foot notes, the bold and underline option, Google Docs is not able to detect the organizational structure of the document. 

Google Docs Outline


On the toolbar, find the button labeled “Normal Text” and click. From there, a list of header options will appear. Use “Heading 1” to begin outlining your document and continue to use “Heading 2, 3, and 4” to create subsections.

Google Docs Outline


Google Docs Outline 
Tip: Make a mistake along the way? Learn how to delete a page in Google Docs.

Now what?

Congrats, you’ve successfully implemented the Google Docs outline tool. Structuring your document is a valuable asset when writing and by using this tool you are on your way to working more efficiently.

Want to learn more ways to keep your documents organized? Check out how to add and remove headers on Google Docs and how to add page numbers in Google Docs.  And don't forget to write a review about Google docs while you're at it! 

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Emily Goorevich

Emily Goorevich

Emily Goorevich is a content marketing intern at G2 Crowd. She is currently a senior at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, studying Political Science and Strategic Communications. She is originally from Maryland and loves reading, listening to podcasts, and falafel.