Navigation Pane in Word 2010 – Your Content Guide

About that one little checkbox
I like exploring the various options available in the office applications. When exploring Microsoft Word 2010 i stumbled upon this little checkbox and wondered what it was for. Hmmm Navigation Pane? I know that option in Microsoft Access and it shows the database objects. What would this do in Word. Curious as always i ticked the box and nothing happened. Well so much for satisfying my curiosity. I should have known better and i do know better. For exploring options it is always best to do so using a well sized document (or at least a document with some pages of text). So i opened up a document and went ahead to explore this little checkbox option. And wow how much functionality can one checkbox reveal!! Let me explain in detail.

This document doesn’t contain any headers
When you start a new document and you decide to activate the navigation pane by clicking the checkbox you will see the navigation pane appear on the left side of your screen. It will look something like this:

This means that if you actually do have a document which contains text it should be formatted with headers. Only then you will get to enjoy the full functionality of the naviagtion pane. If you don’t know how to work with headers you can read this blog entry. I will do a separate one in the near future. Anyway for practical reason i will use a document which contains headers to show you the Navigation Pane in action.

An automatic content guide
If you have used headers like i did in this documents you will see that the navigation pane in Word is automatically filled with some sort of table of contents.

Now let’s take a closer look at the navigation pane and see what functionality it offers.

I have highlighted the various options in the navigation pane. The first option is the “Search” textbox on top. If you provide a search topic here you will see that the search topic is highlighted in the document and in the navigation pane you will see the various sections being highlighted. This shows you in which section the search can be found.

Just below the Search box you will see three tabs. The default view is set to the first tab. This view gives you the “Table Of Contents” style look. This is the view i love to use. When reviewing large documents you have the option to move sections around without doing any cutting, pasting or copying. Just ‘grab’ the header in the naviagtionpane and ‘drag’ it to the position where you think it should fit better in the document. Don’t worry about numbering because this will be automatically corrected. Now that’s what i call service!
The second tab in the navigation pane
Now let’s see what we get when we click the second tab on the navigation pane.

When you click the second tab in the navigation pane you will see that the contents are changed to thumbnails of pages in your document. This way you can easily navigate by page through the document. So in fact you don’t have to navigate through the whole document anymore but using the navigation pane you can easily click on the page you want to examine.
Final tab
the final tab show the same functionality as the search box. So in fact the searchbox and the third tab function act together. Now if you take a closer look at the searchbox you will see another little arrow besides the magnifying glass. When clicked you will see the option to search by various other options like graphics, tables, comments and so on. Wow i am impressed by the fact that checking one little checkbox can offer so much functionality. Trust me whenever you have used this navigation pane you will look for it the next time because this is what’s called productivity on demand.
Happy Navigating 🙂

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