How to Use the Navigation Pane in Word: A Step-by-Step Guide

Navigating through a long Word document can be time-consuming and frustrating. But what if I told you there’s a way to quickly jump to different sections, find specific text, or even rearrange your document without endless scrolling? Well, there is! It’s called the Navigation Pane, and it’s a powerful tool that can save you time and make document editing a breeze. Let’s dive into how you can use the navigation pane in Word to work smarter, not harder.

Step by Step Tutorial: Using the Navigation Pane in Word

Before we get into the nitty-gritty, let’s understand what the Navigation Pane can do for us. This handy tool allows us to see an outline of our document, find text, and move sections around with ease. Ready to become a Word wizard? Follow these steps:

Step 1: Open the Navigation Pane

To get started, simply click on the ‘View’ tab and check the ‘Navigation Pane’ box.

When you do this, a panel will appear on the left side of your Word document. This is the Navigation Pane. It’s your new best friend for navigating through your document.

Step 2: Use the Headings Tab

Click on the ‘Headings’ tab in the Navigation Pane to see an outline of your document.

This view shows you all the headings in your document, organized by their levels. Clicking on a heading will take you directly to that section in your document.

Step 3: Use the Pages Tab

Switch to the ‘Pages’ tab to view thumbnail images of each page.

This is perfect for when you remember what a page looks like but not where it is in your document. Click on a thumbnail to jump to that page.

Step 4: Use the Search Box

Use the search box at the top of the Navigation Pane to find specific text.

Type in the text you’re looking for, and Word will highlight all instances in the document. Click on an instance in the Navigation Pane to go to it in the document.

Step 5: Rearrange Sections

Drag and drop headings in the Navigation Pane to rearrange sections in your document.

This is a game-changer! You can organize your document’s structure without having to cut and paste sections manually.

After completing these steps, you’ll be able to navigate through your document with ease. You’ll be able to find what you need, organize your thoughts, and make edits faster than ever before.

Tips for Using the Navigation Pane in Word

  • Make sure to use heading styles in your document to get the most out of the Navigation Pane.
  • Double-click the top of the Navigation Pane to collapse or expand all headings at once.
  • Right-click a heading in the Navigation Pane to add new headings, promote or demote their level, or even delete them.
  • Use the Navigation Pane to quickly find and replace text throughout your document.
  • Remember that the Navigation Pane is not visible in ‘Read Mode’ or ‘Web Layout’ view.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I open the Navigation Pane?

Open the Navigation Pane by going to the ‘View’ tab and checking the ‘Navigation Pane’ box.

Can I search for text within the Navigation Pane?

Yes, use the search box at the top of the Navigation Pane to find specific text within your document.

Can I see comments and revisions in the Navigation Pane?

No, the Navigation Pane does not display comments or track changes. It’s primarily for navigating through the document’s structure.

Is it possible to navigate by graphics or tables using the Navigation Pane?

The Navigation Pane does not have a specific function for navigating by graphics or tables, but you can use headings to organize these elements and navigate to them that way.

Can I customize the look of the Navigation Pane?

The Navigation Pane’s appearance cannot be customized, but you can resize it by dragging its border.


  1. Open the Navigation Pane
  2. Use the Headings Tab
  3. Use the Pages Tab
  4. Use the Search Box
  5. Rearrange Sections


The Navigation Pane in Word is an incredibly useful tool that often goes underutilized. With its ability to provide an organized outline, quick navigation options, and easy section management, it’s a feature that can significantly improve your productivity when working with lengthy documents. Whether you’re writing a novel, crafting a thesis, or putting together a report, mastering the Navigation Pane will help you keep your thoughts organized and your workflow smooth.

Remember, the key to making the most of the Navigation Pane is to use heading styles consistently throughout your document. This will ensure that the pane can accurately reflect your document’s structure, making it even easier to navigate and rearrange sections as needed. Don’t forget to utilize the search function to swiftly locate specific text, saving you the hassle of manually skimming through pages.

Incorporating the Navigation Pane into your Word routine will no doubt transform your document editing experience. Give it a try, and you’ll wonder how you ever managed without it. And if you ever find yourself getting lost in a sea of pages, just remember: the Navigation Pane is your compass in the world of Word.

Get Our Free Newsletter

How-to guides and tech deals

You may opt out at any time.
Read our Privacy Policy