3 Ways to Troubleshoot Document’s Headings That You Probably Didn’t Know (Word 2013)

In my two previous posts, you have learnt how you can effectively control your document’s headings and why you should do that.  But what if the headings do not behave the way you want it to be?  Listed below are more ways to troubleshoot common problematic scenarios on document’s headings that could have saved you from immense frustration.

Scenario 1.  I have formatted my first main heading with the attributes that I want, but the changes do not automatically reflect to all the other main headings in my document.  How can I apply the changes to all without formatting each main heading one by one?

Solution.  You can select the Automatically update option in the Styles formatting.  As an example, this document currently has three main headings, i.e. “Introduction”, “Objective” and “Scope of Work”:


You want all main headings to be in bold and start at the top of every new page.  Begin with making the changes on “Introduction”.

1.  Place your cursor anywhere on the “Introduction” heading.  When you do this, the heading type will reflect in the Quick Styles gallery on the Home tab in the Styles group, i.e. Heading 1 is outlined in a light blue box.


2.  Right-click the outlined Heading 1 and select Modify from the pop-up menu.


3.  The Modify Style dialog box appears.  Click the Bold button under the Formatting section.  Next, click the Format button at the bottom left of the dialog box and select Paragraph from the displayed options.


4.  The Paragraph dialog box appears.  Click the Line and Page Breaks tab.  Check the Page Break Before checkbox and uncheck others.  Click the OK button.


5.  You will return to the Modify Style dialog box.  Check the Automatically update checkbox and click the OK button at the bottom right of the dialog box.


6.  The changes that you have made are instantly reflected to all main headings in the document.


Note:  By selecting the Automatically update option in the Styles formatting, any future changes on any of the main headings will automatically reflect throughout the entire document.  For example, if you choose to format the heading to be in red with a font size of 20, do it once and you will see the rest of the main headings follow suit.  How awesome is that!

Scenario 2.  I have formatted all the main headings in the document, but I notice some of them remain unchanged.  What could be wrong?

Solution.  This is likely due to the fact that the presumed heading is well, not formatted as a heading in the first place!  You can do a simple check on this.  Place your cursor anywhere on the suspected heading, then look at the Quick Styles gallery.  What type of style that appears to be selected?  In the example below, the presumed heading has a Normal style, which explains why it has no reaction to any heading changes you have made.  Simply format the normal heading to be an actual heading, and your problem is resolved!


Scenario 3.  When I press the Enter button at the end of a heading, I expect to start a new normal paragraph in the next line but instead, it starts with a new heading.  How can I enforce Word to start a paragraph with normal text instead of a new heading in this case?


Solution.  Change the heading properties in Word Styles that will enforce the next line of paragraph to start as normal text after you hit the Enter button at the end of every heading.  Here’s how:

1.  Place your cursor anywhere on the main heading.  Right-click the outlined Heading 1 and select Modify from the pop-up menu.


2.  The Modify Style dialog box appears.  Look at the Style for following paragraph under the Properties section.  It shows that Heading 1 is selected, which explains why every time when you start a new paragraph, it always begins with a heading rather than normal text.


3.  Click on the dropdown list and select Normal.  Click the OK button.


And that’s it!  Every time when you hit the Enter button at the end of a heading, the next line of paragraph will begin as normal text.

Well, that pretty much sums up the solutions to solving some of the most common scenarios on document’s headings and I hope you find it useful in your documentation task!  Happy New Year all!

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