Putting a table of contents in your Microsoft Word document is a very useful addition to make for your readers.
By giving even a basic table you can provide ways for your audience to quickly navigate through the contents of the document and find the information that is most relevant to their needs.
But Microsoft Word has a way for you to create an automatic table of contents that takes advantage of the heading text in your document.
By electing to use the heading style to indicate a section of your document that should be included in your custom table you can tell Word to update table of contents information whenever you use one of the heading styles in the application.
Our tutorial below provides additional information on how to insert a table of contents in Microsoft Word, as well as how you can configure that existing table to update automatically as you add more information to your document.
How to Insert Table of Contents – Word For Office 365
- Select where you want the table.
- Click the References tab.
- Select Table of Contents.
- Choose the desired style for your table of contents.
Our guide continues below with additional information on adding a table of contents to your Microsoft Word document, including pictures of these steps.
Find out more about how to draw a line through text in Word if you are curious about using the strikethrough formatting option in your documents.
How to Make a Table of Contents in Word (Guide with Pictures)
The steps in this article were performed in the Microsoft Word for Office 365 version of the application, but will work in many other versions of Word as well.
We are going to be using the automatic table of contents option in this guide, which assumes that you have already added some headings to your document. If not, then you can add Heading styles by selecting the text that you want to include in the table of contents, clicking the Home tab, then clicking one of the “Heading’ options in the Styles group of the ribbon.
Step 1: Open the document that you wish to edit.
Step 2: Click at the point in the document where you want to insert the table of contents.
Step 3: Select the References tab at the top of the window.
Step 4: Click the Table of Contents button in the Table of Contents group at the left side of the ribbon.
Step 5: Choose the desired type of table from the drop down menu to add it to the document.
Our tutorial continues below with additional discussion on the various types of tables of contents, including what happens if you select “Custom Table of Contents.”
More Information on Making a Microsoft Word Table of Contents
If you have included a new heading in your document you can tell Word to update the table of contents by right-clicking on the table and choosing the Update field option.
To the right of the entry in the table of contents will be the page numbers on which that content appears.
If you add something or remove something from your document that causes a page number to change then you will need to right-click to make the table of contents update automatically, or you can choose to do a manual table update.
You can do a manual update by clicking the References tab at the top of the window, then clicking the Update Table button in the Table of Contents section of the ribbon. You can then choose to:
- Update page numbers only
- Update entire table
As we mentioned in the previous section, there is a Custom Table of Contents option at the bottom of the drop down list that appears after you click the table of Contents button. the menu that appears is shown below.
You can see that this includes several tabs at the top of the window. These are:
- Table of Contents
- Table of Figures
- Table of Authorities
Since we are focused on the table of contents for this guide, then the options on that tab will let you:
- Choose whether or not to show page numbers.
- Select whether to right align page numbers or not.
- Specify the Tab leader, which is the character that is used for the spacing between the page number and the words in the headings.
- A formats dropdown menu where you can change the look of the table.
- A Show levels drop down list where you can specify the number of heading levels to include in the table of contents.
- An Options button, where you can choose to Build table of contents from Styles, Outline levels, or Table entry fields.
- A Modify button where you can set the style for your table of contents index or table entry, as well as another Modify button where you can change the font and styling of the text that appears in your built in tables.
Matt Jacobs has been working as an IT consultant for small businesses since receiving his Master’s degree in 2003. While he still does some consulting work, his primary focus now is on creating technology support content for SupportYourTech.com.
His work can be found on many websites and focuses on topics such as Microsoft Office, Apple devices, Android devices, Photoshop and more.