Word: Getting The Next Heading To Appear Automatically

Have you ever worked on a Word document that automatically sets the style to be the next sequential heading when you press Enter after the current one? That is, you type out a Heading 1, press Enter and the styling is automatically set to Heading 2. But then you work on other documents and when you press Enter the styling simply reverts to Normal.

Sometimes, depending on the kind of document you’re amending, you might want to automatically move on to the next heading. For example, if you’re writing a detailed specification that includes many sub headings, it might be helpful for Word to move on to the next sequential heading automatically.

But how do you do set this up?

Modify Heading 1 Style

By default, Word reverts back to the Normal style after pressing Enter on a heading. We can change this by modifying the heading style. Let’s do this on a Heading 1. Right click on Heading 1 in the Styles gallery (Home tab, in the Styles group) and select Modify.

In the Modify Style window that opens, change the Style for following paragraph selector to be Heading 2.

Click OK to accept the changes. Go on, try it out! Type out a Heading 1 and then press Enter. The style automatically moves on to Heading 2.

As you can imagine, you just need to repeat this simple process on all the other headings you are likely to use in your document. If this is a common requirement of your documents, you could always save the document (after you’ve made your formatting changes) as a template. If you do this, you can then base new documents in the future on this template, and have this formatting already set up for you.