Working with Document Outlines in Google Docs

Document Outlines in Google Docs

Document Outlines in Google Docs is one way to use a table of contents for long documents. The document outline is generated in a Google document by using the document paragraph styles.

Log into your Google account and go to your Google Drive. There are a couple of ways to get to your Google Drive. You can click on the Google Apps launcher and select Google Drive.



You can type “” in the Chrome browser address box, also called the “Omnibox”.




Click on the “New” button and select Google Docs. You can also type in the address box or Omnibox to create a new document.

Click on the “Untitled document” name and provide a name for the document.



Click on “Tools” in the menu and select “Document Outline”. This will display the document outline panel on the left side of the page.



An outline of the document will be generated as we develop our document. The outline panel is currently empty.



Let’s begin creating our document. We don’t need to do anything extra special to generate the outline. As we create the document Google Docs will try to generate the outline based on the document content.

This document has a title with several headings and subheadings. We will be using paragraph styles to control the outline of our document. In this example, we will click on the document title.



Click on the paragraph style pull-down menu and select “Title”. Notice that we don’t have to highlight the text.

The title will be added to the document outline.



We will select the first heading in the document and select the “Heading 1” paragraph style.



Repeat the process with other headings and each heading will appear in the document outline.



Click one of the subheadings and select “Heading 2” in the paragraph styles.



Repeat this process and the document outline will update in response to the applied paragraph styles.



Click on the document outline headings to jump to that location in the document.

Document outlines can be very useful for long documents.

Update the formatting

Formatting the document to generate a document outline with paragraph styles is easy. We may want to use a different font or font size instead of the one that is part of the style. We can do this easily by updating the paragraph style.



Click on the first heading and select a word so you can get visual feedback on the font changes. Select a different font or font size.



Click on the paragraph styles pull-down menu and click on the triangle to the right of the selected style. Click on the option to update the style to match.



The selected heading and all the other headings based on this style will be updated with the changes.

Repeat this process with other paragraph styles.

Posted in Google Docs.