Alternate title –  Where is my f’n ten-page document and why am I left with one line and a silly triangle?

MS Word 2013 offers a cool new feature: the ability to collapse/hide sections of a document.


The picture above shows a document with a collapsed Mid Header2 section (and collapsed Mini Header section).

Why Collapse?

If you have a complex document, it’s clever to present, at first glance, only highlights/ structure of the document, but to allow the reader to dig into the complexity at her pace and according to her interests. I first fell in love with this feature on Wiki pages where we could offer a list of OS configuration options but clicking on any option would show the details for that option only. I am happy to see it available for Word docs.

How To Collapse? 

MS Word offers this feature only at the heading level.  If you click on a heading or hover your mouse over any heading (more below), a triangle appears at the bottom left of the header line. If you click on this icon all text down to the next heading of equal priority disappears – showing only the header and an always-visible icon next to the paragraph which allows you to re-expand the paragraph.  If you print the document, the collapsed
section does not print (and the expansion icon is not printed).


Headers are found on the Styles section of the Home ribbonbar. See the graphic for an example.  Headers allow you to create an outline for your document: to group it into sections and subsections. To create a heading, select a line and click the level of heading it should become: Heading1 for the document title, Heading8 for a minor section and several options in between.  To discharge a line back into the general population of text, highlight it and click the Normal style.  Hovering over a heading style on the toolbar will cause a square dot to show up next to all headings.
You can change the properties of a heading level by right clicking the toolbar heading. Then select paragraph and set the style changes to apply them to all headings of that type. As you can also see in the picture, you can even set a paragraph style to be hidden by default. Most headers start with a number, but you can delete this, or you can choose not to include numbers in the header properties.