When I found out about structuring documents, I couldn’t quite believe I didn’t know about it. Now I show school staff and students and I get a similar reaction.
By structuring my document I am using the language a computer understands – this is vital for a screen reader and I think government docs have to be structured by law to make them accessible. Structuring however also makes working in a lengthy document far more efficient.
By using structure, it is easy to find chapter headings – switch between them, switch them around or change the font and style easily.
No more scrolling up and down; you can just simply click on the heading in the document map/navigation pane to the left of your document.
It will also create a contents page with the correct page numbers. This is something I always got in a muddle with when writing lengthy essays. I recently had to do a 10000 word essay and structuring it made the admin bits at the end far less cumbersome.
You can even use structured documents as a teaching tool; try creating paragraphs for an essay using headings, mix them up, and get students to put them in the right order – a good revision exercise.
In the old Word, to structure a document you’d need to go to format (I think) and to include the document map you would find it in view.
The new Word however includes a ribbon at the top of the page where the structuring tools are very visible.
The document map is now called a navigation pane.
Try it – I guarantee you’ll never go back to the unstructured world.
If you want to know more, Load2learn has really good information about structuring documents https://load2learn.org.uk/training/selfstudy/itr-overview/structured_documents_introduction.php and this by @dominiKlukes is a great beginner’s guide.