Creating and Updating a Table of Contents in Word

Learn how to create and update a Table of Contents in Word.

Many Word documents require a table of contents be added to them. Word allows you to add a table of contents (TOC) by either using the Heading Styles or by marking selected text to be added to the TOC. The easiest way to create a TOC is to use the heading styles.  This feature allows you to quickly update the TOC anytime with just a few key strokes.  Below are the step-by-step instructions for creating and updating a TOC using the Heading Styles.

Creating a Table of Contents

  1. Mark the text you want to include by using the heading styles when creating your document. (Click the Home tab on the ribbon and click on the heading style you wish to apply from the Styles group.)  Once the entries are marked, you are ready to create your TOC.VLBTechEd Word TOC Image 1
  2. Move your cursor to where you want to insert the TOC.
  3. Click the Reference tab on the ribbon.
  4. Click Table of Contents from the Table Thumbnail images representing the different TOC styles are displayed in the gallery.  Note:  The thumbnail images give you two options for Automatic Tables.  These two options insert a table of contents that is automatically generated from the headings in the document.  However, if you select Manual Table, a structured TOC template is inserted but you must type in the TOC’s contents manually as Word won’t use your headings to create the Table of Contents.VLBTechEd Word TOC Image 2
  5. Click the Custom Table of Contents option to customize your TOC’s font, number of heading levels and leading dots.VLBTechEd Word TOC Image 3
  6. Click the Options button to select and/or unselect the heading styles to be used.VLBTechEd Word TOC Image 4
  7. Once you’ve made the necessary changes, click OK.
  8. Click the Modify button to edit the format/style for the TOC contents. Note: Updating the format/style of the TOC contents does NOT change the format of the styles within the document.VLBTechEd Word TOC Image 5
  9. Select the TOC level you wish to modify and click Modify.
  10. Make the necessary changes to the formatting by changing the font type, size, etc. You can also change the spacing of the TOC entries by clicking the Format button for additional options.VLBTechEd Word TOC Image 6
  11. Once the necessary changes have been made, click OK.
  12. Continue making changes to the various levels. Once you made all the necessary changes to each level of the TOC, click OK.
  13. The TOC is now created and inserted into your document.VLBTechEd Word TOC Image 7

Updating the Table of Contents

The Table of Contents can become outdated if you add or remove heading and pages in you document.

  1. Right-click in the TOC and select Update Field.VLBTechEd Word TOC Image 8
  2. The Update Table of Contents window will open. Choose Update page numbers only if you’re not adding any more headings to the document.  Choose Update entire table if headings have been added or removed.VLBTechEd Word TOC Image 9
  3. Once you have selected your option, click OK to update the TOC.

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