Outline Templates

by Alan W. Gomes, Ph.D.
Talbot School of Theology
(Internet: alan_gomes@peter.biola.edu)

February 24, 1995


Microsoft Word 6.0 supports automatic outline numbering. This feature allows you to create and rearrange the contents of an outline and to have the points automatically number/renumber themselves accordingly.

Word uses its built-in Heading styles to indicate the various levels of the outline. For example, "Heading 1" is the outermost (least indented) level of the outline, while "Heading 9" is the innermost outline level. To use the automatic outlining feature effectively, it is necessary to use a template containing appropriately formatted and numbered Heading styles. The heading style determines what number will be applied to a particular outline level (e.g., "A," "iii," "2," etc.). The heading styles also contain formatting information, such as how far in from the left margin the point should be indented, and how far the text of the point should be indented from the number associated with that point.

I have provided two outline templates. One is named "PART.DOT" and the other is "PART&SEC.DOT." The PART.DOT template begins with "Part" divisions for the Heading†1 style and then follows with a standard Roman-numeral type of outline for Heading levels 2 through 9. The PART&SEC.DOT template also has the "Part" division as Heading 1, but Heading 2 is a Section division. The standard Roman-numeral style outline points begin at heading levels 3-9 for this template.

You may use the PART.DOT outline template even when you are creating an outline that does not use part divisions. Simply begin your outline with Heading 2 and it will begin numbering the outline with Roman numeral "I."

Note that these two templates are compatible both with the Windows and with the Macintosh versions of Microsoft Word 6.0.

Installing the PART.DOT and PART&SEC.DOT Templates

To make these outline templates available to Word, simply copy these templates to your Microsoft Word templates directory or folder. (Directories under MS-DOS are equivalent to folders on the Macintosh; I'm using the terms interchangeably here.) If you are unclear about the location of your templates directory/folder, it should not be hard to locate. Identify your Microsoft Word program directory or folder and then look for a directory or folder in it named "Templates."

Creating an Outline Using an Outline Template

To create a new outline, select the "File" menu and then choose "New." Scroll down the list of templates and select either the "Part" or "Part&sec" template. Once you do so, the automatically numbered heading styles will be available for your use.

On the use of styles, consult your Microsoft Word 6.0 documentation or look at the discussion of styles in the on-line help.

Modifying the Outline Heading Styles

You may modify the outline numbering, indentation, or any other property of the outline heading styles. If you wish to select a new numbering scheme, adjust indentations, etc., go to the "Format" menu and select "Heading Numbering." Click on the "Modify" button. You may then modify individual heading styles as desired.

Note that any changes you make to the Heading styles affect only the current document; they will not affect the outline template itself. If you wish to make permanent changes to the template, so that all future documents using this template will reflect the redesigned style, you should open the template itself (i.e., PART.DOT or PART&SEC.DOT) from the "File...Open" menu. After you have modified the styles in the template as desired, resave the template. All new documents using this template will reflect the changes.

If you have an outline whose styles you wish to updateóperhaps because you modified the template and want the outline you created earlier to reflect the newly designed outline stylesóyou can easily replace the styles in your document with the styles from the template. From the "Format" menu select "Style Gallery." Scroll down the list of templates and select the desired one. When you click "OK," all styles in your document having the same name as the styles in the template will be replaced by those in the template.

Miscellaneous Hints/Observations

    1. It is easiest to rearrange the outline in outline view. In outline view you can easily collapse or expand outline points and move an outline level with all of its attendant subpoints with a few clicks of the mouse.
    2. When you are entering points in your outline, note that every time you hit "enter" a new outline point is created. This point is automatically numbered. I have designed the template so that at the "Part," "Section," and "I." levels the outline automatically move to the next level in once you hit return. At the "A," "1," "a," etc. levels, hitting return creates a numbered point at the same level, since that is what you will want most of the time. (If my description is confusing it will become clear as you use the template.) These characteristics can be changed by modifying the heading style in question. (Select the "Format|Style" menu, choose "modify," and then change the selection for "Style of following paragraph" to the desired heading level.) In any case, if you don't want the heading that has been applied automatically, you can easily change it by applying a different style to the paragraph in question, or by dragging the point in or out while in outline view.
    3. There may be times when you want to enter a blank line within a particular outline point but do not wish to generate a new outline point number. In this case you can use a hard line break (shift-enter) rather than the normal enter key.
    4. You can change the font for all outline levels simply by modifying the Normal style. All of the heading styles are built upon the Normal style for the font used. Of course, you can also specifically change the font for any particular outline level simply by modifying the appropriate style (e.g., Heading 3).

Have fun!
Alan Gomes