Headings can improve your document

Some clients tell me they’re struggling to get their thoughts on paper (not that anyone writes on paper any more, but you know what I mean); others have written plenty but say that it doesn’t flow logically and they don’t know how to fix it. My solution for both these problems is to create headings and subheadings that summarise the major ideas that need to be conveyed in the document.

For non-starters, this method provides a framework; the headings can be reordered, contemplated and reordered again until a logical flow appears. Once the structure is reasonably well sorted, the detail can be filled in.

For people who have managed to get some words down, inserting headings (as many as one for every paragraph, if necessary) then extracting them as a table of contents gives a simplified view of the document and shows where the existing structure is flawed. It also helps in creating a hierarchy with major ideas and their components logically grouped.

It’s easy (and far more efficient) to set up a Word document so that it generates a table of contents as you write, but it’s not hard to do it if you’ve already written some material. Select a heading, then press:


and mark it as a heading at the appropriate level. Once you’ve marked all the headings, click at the top of your document and follow the menu sequence below to generate a table of contents.

References-Table of Contents-Insert Table of Contents-Options-Build Table of Contents from: Table entry fields-OK-OK

This TOC can be updated by right-clicking on it at any time.

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