Navigation Pane In Word 2010

In previous versions of Microsoft Word you would press ctrl-F to search a document for a word or phrase. In Word 2010, ctrl-F now summons a Navigation Pane that appears to the left of the document.


Previously when searching for occurrences of words or phrases in a document, the Find dialogue box had to jump around the screen to avoid obscuring the view of the words it found. This was not ideal. In pursuit of what Microsoft are calling the “Polished User Experience“, the Find box now appears fixed in the same position at the top of the Navigation Pane during all your searches.

You’ll notice three views available by clicking on their respective tabs at the top of the Navigation Pane, that display:

  • a hierarchy of headings in your document
  • thumbnail images of the pages in your document (similar to slide view in Powerpoint)
  • the results of your current search

Navigation Pane – Headings View

The headings view in the Navigation Pane provides a good visual representation of the structure of your document by displaying only its headings. Subheadings are indented for easier reading.
navigation-pane-in-heading-viewYou can quickly navigate to a particular heading in your document by clicking on the corresponding heading in the Navigation Pane. The bar with the up-arrow at the top provides a way to jump to the top of the document. Surprisingly, there isn’t an equivalent button to jump to the bottom.

Another navigational aid is the pair of arrows to the top right of the Navigation pane. Clicking on the up arrow positions you at the previous heading and the down arrow positions you at the next heading.

You can make swift structural changes to your document by clicking and dragging the headings up or down the Navigation Pane. When you do this, the heading and the whole block of text between that heading and the subsequent heading is moved to where you position it. Of course, ctrl-Z to undo is always available should you make a mess of things.

If a heading contains subheadings, you can use the arrows to the left to expand and collapse the display to either show or hide those subheadings.

Navigation Pane – Thumbnail Page View

Clicking on the middle button displays thumbnail images of each page in the document. The thumbnail view provides a way to quickly jump to any page. Unlike the heading view, you can’t move content around by clicking and dragging a thumbnail.

The up and down arrows move you to the previous page and the next page respectively.


Navigation Pane – Search Results View

If you are searching for occurrences of a word or phrase, this is the view to use. Start typing in the search box and Word 2010 immediately strats searching the document for the words you input. The words or phrases are highlighted in yellow in the document and the number of occurrences is displayed at the top of the pane. If there are few enough occurrences, a snippet of text containing the words is displayed in the pane. Clicking on a particular snippet will take you to its location in the document and the words remain highlighted.

navigation-pane-search-results-viewAfter you have clicked on a snippet and jumped to its location in the document, you’ll see a red ‘X’ appear next to the search box. Clicking on this will end the saerch but keep you positioned at the snippet’s location in the document.

Navigation Pane Options

In the top right corner of the Navigation Pane, there is a down arrow. Clicking on that displays options to move, size or close the pane. The move option is a little redundant as you can click and drag on the panes title bar straight away to move it somewhere. It’s a similar case with the size option as you can simply click and drag on any of the Navigation Pane’s borders to resize it. The close option closes the pane in the same way that clicking on the ‘X’ does.