Troubleshooting Google Docs: Outline Not Showing Issue

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Google Docs Outline Not Showing: A Simple Guide


As Tracy of, I’ve often encountered queries centered on Google Docs. One particular issue that seems quite common is when the Google Docs outline isn’t showing. To help with this, I’ve created a simple guide that will help you resolve the issue quickly and efficiently.

Why is Your Google Docs Outline Not Showing?

The reason behind your Google Docs outline not showing could be that you haven’t used any headings in your document. Google uses the heading styles (Heading 1, Heading 2, etc.) to detect and form an outline. If your document doesn’t use these headers, an outline won’t form.

Ensuring That Your Google Docs Outline Shows

You can quickly sort this issue out by manually formatting your headers. Here’s your simple step-by-step guide:

Step 1: Choose the Appropriate Heading

Highlight the text that you want to include in the outline, then click on ‘Normal text’ present at the top toolbar. Now choose the correct heading format, i.e., Heading 1, Heading 2, and so on.

Step 2: Check the Outline

After formatting your headers, go to the top left corner of your screen and click on ‘Tools’. From the drop-down menu, select ‘Document outline’ – your outline should be visible, listing all the headers in your document.


Essentially, a missing Google Docs outline is usually down to incorrectly formatted or absent headers in your document. Simple formatting changes should resolve the issue and provide you with the structured outline you need.

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Unfortunately, references were not needed for this article. However, Google offers plenty of guides and help for all things regarding Google Docs. Feel free to explore them if you want to delve deeper into the topic.