One of the complaints I’ve heard about using Microsoft Word to write a novel is that moving chapters around is difficult. Well…it’s time to debunk that myth! It’s actually quite easy, assuming that you’ve setup your chapters properly.

I’m using Word 2016, but other versions should have similar functions. Note that I couldn’t get this work in Office 365. If anyone can, please let me know.

The first thing we need to do is to display the navigation pane. I recommend that you keep it visible at all times; however, if you don’t have enough real estate on your screen, you can close it when you’re finished. To open the navigation pane, either press ctrl-f (control f) or select the menu View à Navigation Pane:

If you’ve setup each chapter in your document as a heading, the chapters will show up as items in the navigation pane:

Now, say we wan to move chapter 3 to chapter 2. It’s simple—just select the chapter 3 heading and drag it:

Notice, however, that we have a problem. Chapter 3 has been renamed Chapter 1 since Word restarted the numbering. But it’s easy to fix. Simply select the chapter header, right-click, and select Continue Numbering:

That’s it! Your chapters are moved and renumbered.

Happy Writing!