Five tips for using the Word 2010 Navigation pane

One of the handiest new features in Word 2010 is the Navigation pane, a versatile tool that combines and enhances the functionality of Document Map, Thumbnails, and the Object Browser.

The Navigation pane is a new feature in Word 2010 that makes it easier to search through your document by headings, pages, or search results. The different navigation choices help you find what you need quickly and then move to that spot with one click of the mouse button.

1: Browse document headings

By default, the Navigation pane appears in Browse The Headings In Your Document mode (yes, it's an unfortunately long name), showing you a listing of all the heads and subheads you've created. If you have applied traditional heading styles to your text using the Styles palette, you will be able to see several levels of headings in the Navigation pane. To move to a section you want to see, simply click the heading (Figure A). You can also reorder the sections in your document easily by clicking the heading you want to move and then dragging it to a new position in the heading list.

Figure A

You can use the Navigation pane to move through your document and rearrange headings in your file.

2: Give your pages a visual once-over

The second tab in the Navigation pane displays a thumbnail view of each page in your document. You might use this to scan quickly through the pages, looking for a section or a chart or table you want to see. My favorite way to use the Browse The Pages In Your Document tab of the Navigation pane is to scan through the whole list to do a quick check of the layout of each page. I can see where the headings fall, how balanced the graphics look, and discover whether things are too cramped on one page and too light on another. You can also rearrange pages by dragging and dropping or move directly to a page you want to see by clicking it. Simple.

3: Search anytime, anywhere

You also have the good old-fashioned Search Document box at the top of the Navigation pane, ready to spring into action and provide results whenever you say the word. This search box stays available no matter which view you are using in the pane. When you click and type the word or phrase you want to find in the document, the results appear highlighted in the results window (Figure B). To move to a specific result, just click it.

Figure B

You can search and find multiple occurrences of your word or phrase using the Navigation pane.

4: Remember what you searched for

If it's part of your regular work routine to search for specific elements at the beginning or end of your editing process, you can set up Word to remember the types of things you search for. Click the arrow at the bottom of the Search Document box to display a list of additional choices. Click Options and in the Find Options dialog box, select the options you want to use. Click Set As Default to have Word remember these settings as your default find options. Click OK to finish the deal.

5: Find all your favorite objects

In addition to the three main tabs, which enable you to move through your document by heading, by page, and by search result, you can also find objects you create or add to your pages. Similar to the function of the Browse Object tool (which you'll still find in the lower-right corner of the Word window), you can use the Navigation pane to search for images, tables, comments, and more -- and still use Go To and Find And Replace -- via the Find Choice In The Navigation pane list. Click the arrow at the right end of the Search Document box (again) to display the list. In the top of the list, you'll find the common navigation commands you've used in previous versions of Word. In the Find area, you can choose the object you want to move to. You can then use the Next Search Result or Previous Search Result arrows (to the right of the tabs in the Navigation pane) to display other objects of that type in your document.

Katherine Murray is the author of Microsoft Office 2010 Plain & Simple (Microsoft Press, 2010), Microsoft Word 2010 Plain & Simple (Microsoft Press, 2010), and Microsoft Word 2010 Inside Out (Microsoft Press, 2010). You can reach Katherine through her blog, BlogOffice or by emailing

By Katherine Murray

Katherine Murray is a technology writer and the author of more than 60 books on a variety of topics, ranging from small business technology to green computing to blogging to Microsoft Office 2010. Her most recent books include Microsoft Office 2010 P...