How to Remove Heading Arrow in Word: A Step-by-Step Guide

Removing heading arrows in Microsoft Word can be a little tricky, but once you know where to look, it’s a breeze! These arrows are known as "expand/collapse buttons," and they can clutter up your document if you’re not using them. So, let’s dive into how to get rid of these pesky little arrows so your document looks just the way you want it.

Step by Step Tutorial on How to Remove Heading Arrow in Word

Before jumping into the steps, let’s understand what we’re about to do. Microsoft Word automatically adds these arrows when you use headings in your document. They are meant to help readers navigate through sections by collapsing and expanding content. However, if you don’t need this feature, removing them makes your document look cleaner.

Step 1: Open the Navigation Pane

First things first, you need to open the Navigation Pane. This is usually found on the left side of the Word window.

When you open the Navigation Pane, you’ll see all your headings listed. This pane helps you quickly jump to different sections in your document, and it’s also where the heading arrows are managed.

Step 2: Right-click on a heading in the Navigation Pane

Next up, give a right-click on any heading in the Navigation Pane. A menu will pop up with different options.

Right-clicking on the heading shows a context menu where you can change how your headings work. This is where we’ll find the option to remove the heading arrows.

Step 3: Select ‘Collapse All’ or ‘Expand All’

From the pop-up menu, choose either ‘Collapse All’ or ‘Expand All’. This will collapse or expand all the content under headings in your document.

Choosing ‘Collapse All’ will hide all the content under the headings, and the arrows will disappear. The same goes for ‘Expand All’, except it shows all the content.

Step 4: Close the Navigation Pane (optional)

After you’ve collapsed or expanded the headings, you can close the Navigation Pane if you want. Simply click on the ‘X’ at the top of the pane or uncheck the ‘Navigation Pane’ option in the ‘View’ tab.

Closing the Navigation Pane is optional. Some people like to keep it open for easy navigation, but if you prefer a cleaner workspace, feel free to close it.

Once you complete these steps, your document will no longer display the heading arrows, giving you a cleaner, more distraction-free environment to work in.

Tips for Removing Heading Arrow in Word

  • Ensure you’re using the latest version of Microsoft Word for a smoother experience.
  • If your document is shared with others, let them know you’ve removed the heading arrows as this might affect their navigation.
  • Remember that removing the arrows doesn’t delete the headings, it just hides the arrows.
  • You can always bring the arrows back by expanding or collapsing content in the Navigation Pane if needed.
  • If you’re not using headings, consider removing them altogether to prevent the arrows from showing up again.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I remove heading arrows for individual sections instead of the whole document?

No, the collapse/expand feature applies to all headings in the document. If you collapse or expand one, it applies to all.

Will removing heading arrows affect my document’s format?

No, removing the arrows will not change your document’s format. It just cleans up the view.

If I send the document to someone else, will they see the heading arrows?

Yes, if they have the Navigation Pane open and your document uses headings, they will see the arrows unless they also choose to collapse or expand the headings.

Can I permanently disable the expand/collapse feature in Word?

No, there isn’t a permanent disable function. You will need to collapse or expand the headings each time you open the document.

Is there a keyboard shortcut to remove heading arrows?

Not specifically for removing arrows, but you can use the keyboard shortcut ‘Ctrl + F’ to open the Navigation Pane and then use the mouse to collapse or expand.


  1. Open the Navigation Pane
  2. Right-click on a heading in the Navigation Pane
  3. Select ‘Collapse All’ or ‘Expand All’
  4. Close the Navigation Pane (optional)


Congratulations, you’ve now mastered the art of removing heading arrows in Word, making your documents look much neater and more professional. Remember, these arrows are there to help with navigation, so if you’re working on a long, complex document, you might want to keep them around. However, for simpler documents or when you’re aiming for a clean aesthetic, removing these arrows can be a significant improvement.

It’s all part of understanding the tools at your disposal and making them work for you. The more comfortable you are with Word’s features, the more efficient and effective your document creation will be. So, don’t be afraid to explore and tinker with other features in Word. Who knows what other handy tricks you might uncover?

If you’ve found this guide on how to remove heading arrow in Word helpful, be sure to pass it along to a friend or colleague. Happy writing!

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