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Google Docs adds automatic outline feature

It's now easier to navigate lengthy documents with Google Docs on the Web and Android.

I use Google Docs for all of my writing, from CNET blog posts and other writing for work to quick lists and tried-and-true recipes. I opened up Google Docs this morning to start my daily labor to find an outline panel on the left side of my document. It had recognized the bold headers in my document and used them to create an outline that I could use to jump to different parts of my document without needing to scroll. It's a convenient time saver for browsing through lengthy documents.

If Google Docs doesn't offer this new feature upon your next visit, you can enable it by going to Tools > Document outline. The Outline panel sits to the left of your document and lets you jump to different spots with a single click.

I found that the outline feature recognized bold text and all caps, and both the title and the four heading options in Google Docs. If you have a line in your document with any of these formatting options, then that text will show up in the document outline. If bolded text appears within a longer line of normal text, then Google Docs rightly does not include it in the document outline. The outline updates in real time as you add new headers to your document, and you can remove items from the outline by hovering your cursor over them and clicking the X button.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

The document outline feature is also available on Android devices with the Google Docs app. When you start scrolling through a document, a small navigation button will appear. Tap it to see an outline of your document.

Sadly, iOS users looking for outline assistance from Google Docs are out of luck.

(Via Google Apps Updates)