Use of Headings and styles in Microsoft Word

Writing a document without format and structure it is like cooking food without salt or drinking tea without sugar. They both are possible but they are not what we should expect.

As we have said about Microsoft Office in recent posts, it is a great tool that is worth to be used (It has millions of users worldwide). Microsoft Office has millions of functions and thousands of tools that can take decades to cover them. 

That’s why we are here, we will cover them slow by slow because it’s a must to known a feature in details to better understand how you should us it and when to use it.

Understanding Microsoft Office and its applications is very simple, follow this simple rule; do it frequently and be eager to know each and every day. 

I am not very at Microsoft Office but I believe that I have sufficient skills that can help me to use it in my daily operation and that’s what I do, it is my pivot tool that helps me to schedule my stuffs and do my work easily and conveniently.

Today, we are going to cover an important tool for writers, publishers, academicians and even marketers could use (it depends where). The tool is “Headings”

What are Headings in Microsoft Word?

Headings are styles titles that indicates a chapter or a section in a document. Headings go above texts they represent, most of the time headings should look different to the paragraphs to be easily recognized by a reader. 

Headings are represented in a minified way as an H (Hs in plural”)alphabet. If you see me write H1 or H2 and so on in below sections know that I am saying headings and their respective levels.

Structure of Headings in Microsoft Word

In Microsoft Word, headings are located in the top right corner in the styles ribbon between editing ribbon and paragraph ribbon (sometimes basic texts ribbon). Headings are different in terms of levels and is in six levels and other additional special formats styles and not headers but I decided to include them in this topic because there is a relation between them. 

If you know basics of html you will recognize what I am saying easily because this is somehow identical. Those headings are:

Heading 1

Heading 1 is like a title and can be used as main title in articles, research articles and blogs while in books and academic documents they can be used to represent chapters. Simply this heading starts any document (if writing

Other headings (H2, H3, H4, H5 and H6)

As headings do represent titles and chapters in articles and books, these other headings support H1 and they might be used as sub-titles (in articles and blogs) or sub-chapters (books and formal documents). These headings are crucial because they create a cascade in script.

Special formats headings

Apart from normal headings (H1, H2, H3, H4, H5 and H6), Microsoft Word consists other special forms of headings which are:

HTML Preformat

The word HTML explains the format itself. Have you ever used a programming software like Visual Studio Code? The use special codes that are not similar to other editing fonts. This format can be used in case you have a text or a document that have a part of explain codes or something related to programming.

<p> this paragraph is in code format and I want to indicate that it is a special text </p>”.

“<p> this paragraph is in code format and I want to indicate that it is a special text </p>”.
This text is in a special font and format that’s why it will be easily recognized by one who is reading the document.


Emphasis is a style that you can use if you want to catch an attention of reader or can be easily remembered. Emphasis uses Italic text format


Strong is in normal term a bold, this style highlights a part in paragraph like you see this paragraph is instantly visible if you look in this text and can be easy for you to recognize the what a writer is focusing on with this style.

Functions of Headings in Microsoft Word

In text writing there are crucial elements that writers should do to impress readers or reviewers, one of them is the structure of the text. You know what all readers do before reading a book or an article, its appearance and this is mostly assessed through the way texts are formatted and how the document is arranged.

If you format your book or article the way people feel they are comfortable with your format, you hit the jackpot and you are on top but if you do not.


Imagine if you take some bucks (like $20), you order a book and when it is delivered to you realize that it hasn’t table of content it is just to start reading?

Think about it and tell me what could be your immediate reaction. For me, the answer is straightforward I would return it and claim my money back.

That’s why Hs are crucial, you can use them – they will help you to create table of content for your document.

When you use them, it helps you very much because you will not need to write down the table of content instead it will be generated along the way.

For me, I use Hs often in any document above two pages because it facilitates me to find the document using headings – if you don’t know how you find document using find consider our post about find tool in Microsoft officeand how other shortcuts work to boost your workflow.

See also:

Readable structure

When you use headings, it creates a well-organized structure in the document. If you look at the image below you see that the content is ranked from large header to lowest (example H1 to H3).

With this structure, a reader won’t get bored of reading your text because he knows where he/she has started and where he/she is going.

To draw attention

Looking at all styles we used above with every detail we mentioned about them, it makes them special and different to normal text, the purpose behind is to draw an attention to the one who reads.

If you use let’s say emphasis, quote or a heading this totally is going to make the reader identify that title or part of the text immediately. If it’s a message you want that reader to grab, then you have it.

How some people misuse headings and styles

When I was in my tertiary studies, I have seen my colleagues were doing a mistake while writing internship reports and memoir but they didn’t realize that. You guess what the mistake was?

They were using strong (Bold) to indicate the titles of chapters and subchapters.

That’s not a mistake but a mistake was to use this style without applying headings because they finally struggle to create table of content and again, they finally become obliged to create them or hire freelancers to create for them.

Headings need to be used appropriately, the other way some people misuse headings is when they make a bad arrangement of the headings.

An example, you can write a document and instead of marking header or title with H1 but you mark it with H2, and its subchapter comes H1. That destroys the structure of your text document because it is advisable to use heading by their level.


Headings are styles of titles that indicates or a section in a document, mainly formal documents like books, journals and documents but it is not prohibited to use them into informal ones (in my opinion, it is instead advisable). Headings are into different levels like in HTML; from H1 to H6.

Apart from headings, there are other styles like preformat (code font that’s how I call it), Emphasis (Italic) and Strong (Bold) which makes this part all of them can be used to spice up your document in Microsoft word.

These styles play a vital role if you are writer or you want to be one and your writing tool is Microsoft Word be ready and learn more about their functions to avoid any misuse of them.

Final thoughts

Look, what you write make people who read it classify you in a certain category. You do it professionally, you increase your credibility and people can see something special in you.

You don’t need to write a book or a document that will not attract the interests of the readers because they don’t have any standard or they have no schema.

If you use headings in a book, people are going to be interested it might not the whole but they can have interest of a single point in the middle of the book. This is not the same as disliking a book at the very first time.

Make use of headings a habit, it is not time consuming – you are killing two birds with one stone

Do you find something new in this article? Share also your experience on the use of headings we would like to hear from you.

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  1. As a blogger, header texts are so essential for SEO. Especially if you want Google bots to understand your post's layout.