In my last post 5 Editing Tools I Use, I mentioned using the Navigation Pane in MS Word. Here is an explanation of how it has helped me.
Note: This tool will not help you much if you have a separate document for each chapter in the book you’re writing. It is most helpful to those of us who have a continuous manuscript in one document. I used to separate my chapters to have their own document, but it drove me crazy to try and find certain characters or pieces of story when I needed to. So I went back to one document and began to use the Navigation tool.
Now I can see as I go what is happening in what chapter or scene because I make notes at each chapter and scene change. All I need to do to maneuver through the manuscript is to click on the chapter heading or scene subheading in the pane.
I just learned about the feature from my friend and fellow writer, Suzanne Kuchynka. She is the master of organization and tools to do that with your plotting and writing. I’m not one to go to great lengths to be organized, but I do like using this tool in at least a minimal way. You may want to take it to it’s full level. I’m just going to share how I use it. Simple as it is, it really helps me keep track of my story as I write.
You will find the Navigation pane toggle under the VIEW tab in the menu at the top of your document.
(It’s the same thing you see when you click on “Find” to search for a word in your document.)
Simply click in the box and it will bring up a sidebar.
When I start a new chapter, I title it, i.e. Chapter Two, and then assign it as Heading 1 in the Styles bar that shows up in the Home tab.
If I put any subtext under the chapter title, I assign it as Heading 2.
You do this by highlighting the Chapter Two or Scene 1 and then clicking on the Heading you want it to have.
Here is an example of what mine looks like:
When I click on any of the headings in the Navigation Pane, it goes to that place in my manuscript.
Under the Heading 2, I usually put the scene number, word count of that scene, and a little description of what happens in that scene.
If you click in the Nav. Pane on Pages, it will give you a view of all your pages.
I know there are other uses for this tool. Here are a couple links for tutorials:
I plan to take some time soon and dive deeper into this feature. I hope you are finding your own tools to make your writing and editing easier.