This is the eleventh and final installment in the “HOW I WRITE” series I’m participating in every Wednesday with several writers, where we all discuss how we approach writing a book. Every writer has a different process and this project gives us a chance to share and compare ours. Click on the “How I Write” image to find a list of the participating writers and links to their blogs.
Last week we talked about Resources to help hone the writing craft. It’s on open topic for this week, and I chose: Using the Document Map in Microsoft Word.
As I mentioned last month while discussing how I write the first draft , when drafting (and revising) a manuscript, I take the outline I created in my spreadsheet and transfer it into a Word document in the format of a book with chapter and scene titles. But because I already generally have the entire story laid out, every once in a while I sometimes flesh out scenes out of order. I use Word’s Document Map feature to help me jump from scene to scene and chapter to chapter easily.
How to use the Document Map in MS Word
Step 1: Give your chapters titles that can help you identify what’s in it, instead of just numbers. For example, instead of calling it “Chapter 5″, call it “Chapter 5: The First Kiss”. If you give your scene breaks titles too, like “***Dreaming About Eric” instead of just “***”, you will make it even easier to navigate your manuscript. You can always change the names of the chapters and scenes to get rid of the descriptive titles once you have finished the manuscript and no longer need them.
Step 2: Make all of your chapter and scene break titles style type Heading 1. (Highlight the title and select Heading 1 from the Styles menu)
Step 3: Turn on the Document Map feature. In Word 2007 or earlier, click View > Document Map. In Word 2010 or later, go to View > Navigation Pane and select the first tab underthe search box (it’ll say “Browse the headings in your document” when you mouse over it).
Benefits of the Document Map
- Provides you with a list of all of your headers a sidebar
- By making your chapter and scene titles headers, you’ll have a clickable outline of your manuscript
- Jump to a specific chapter or scene in your manuscript by clicking on the header in the document map
- It shows you where you are in the manuscript by highlighting the header in the document map of the corresponding section your cursor is in
I hope that helps you get started using the Document Map feature in Word! If you have any questions, feel free to leave it here in the comments.
Don’t forget to visit other participating blogs to see other writers’ open topic for today. Thanks for joining me in the How I Write series – it’s been fun!