How to export to docx AND keep a tree hierarchy that goes deeper than 9 levels

I am using a research program called Verbum (which is also marketed as Logos), which is essentially an e-book reader that specializes in scholarly texts. It allows users however to create their own e-books within their system by importing MS Word documents. (Details:

I am making highly hierarchical e-books using OmniOutliner. I then export them from OmniOutliner as indented MS Word documents, and then import them without any modification to Verbum/Logos. The system works great. The Verbum e-book has a table of contents (TOC) that uses the MS Word table of contents to maintain the outline hierarchy, and I use this TOC to navigate the rather complicated document. But it works great.

My problem, however, is with MS Word. It limits the number of levels in the TOC to 9 levels. The result is that any levels deeper than the 9th level get flattened out, and everything below that is all at the same level, making my long documents difficult to navigate (they have up to 20 levels).

It seems that when OmniOutliner exports a file as MS Word, it complies with the MS Word standard, and flattens deeper levels at the 9th level.

So, since my document does not actually need to be used in MS Word, I would like to–one way or another–create an MS Word document that has a TOC of more than 9 layers. I’m hoping I can find a solution, and perhaps I could “build” an MS Word document from an XML file created by OmniOutliner, although I’ve had bad luck so far.

Does anyone have any suggestion? If there were an XML/docx expert, I would be happy to pay a reasonable amount for a solution.



I’m afraid that MS Word simply uses a procrustean model - nine levels of headings is all you get. Beyond that you would have to use bullet/number levels.

Hi James! I’m not aware of a way to accomplish what you’re looking for right now. I don’t know whether this is something that would be possible for us to do anything about or not, but if you email us I’d be happy to submit a feature request on your behalf.

Dear draft8, thank you for weighing in. I know MS Word is limited to nine levels. I’m just wondering if:

  1. I can create a docx file ignore the MS Word spec regarding TOC levels.

  2. I know this would not match the MS Word spec, but I don’t plan to use the file with MS Word.

  3. I only need a docx file because my other software only imports docx files.

Do you think there might be a way for me to get such a file out of OmniOutliner?



Dear Anne,

Thank you so much for your kind offer. I’ve already been emailing with Aaron, and he offered to do the same, and then suggested that perhaps one of the power users on this forum might have some ideas.



I don’t think that importers will be able to make sense of additional header levels – they are just not part of the model, - but they may be able to import further-indented bullet lines

If you don’t need to preserve inline formatting, my first thought would be to export as OPML, which supports arbitrary nesting, and convert from that to docx (or anything else) through

(My recollection is that Pandoc does make use of some bullet levels, though many Word import/export filters actually only use six header levels, for consistency with the HTML document model.