How to make a table of contents in a Word document

Many users, when working in a Word text editor, need to correctly format the content of the document – make a table of contents in Word. A table of contents in Word is required for various types of multi-page documents drawn up for business, scientific or educational purposes. It is used in various types of documents: instruction, manual, project, dissertation, term paper, abstract, diploma, homework, etc.

The content in Word is a table of contents with the titles of chapters, sections, page numbers, etc., which provides easy navigation through the document. The user will quickly get to the required section, paragraph or chapter of the document, or navigate to the desired page using links from the table of contents area.

Content in Word performs several practical functions:

  • Internal navigation to quickly jump to the right parts of the document.
  • Drawing attention to the content of the document.
  • Displaying the general structure of a text document.

A table of contents is usually placed at the beginning or end of a document. The content is placed in the document depending on the design requirements: after the title page, before the imprint, after the title on the same page with other text, etc.

In this article you will find instructions on how to make a table of contents in Word step by step. All actions are performed in the same way in MS Word versions: Word 2019, Word 2016, Word 2013, Word 2010, Word 2007. Keep in mind that there are some differences in the interface of different versions of the application.

Change the table of contents options in a Word document

In Microsoft Word, when creating a table of contents for a document, heading styles are used as a basis, either built-in or self-created.

If there are no headings in the original document, then you will need to create them first, so that later you can use the auto-assembled table of contents in Word when designing.

Do the following:

  1. Open a Word document.
  2. Select the text to be used as the heading.
  3. In the “Home” tab, from the “Styles” area, set the appropriate style for the title.

Apply the styles you choose to format all of the headings in this document.

By default, headings of three levels of nesting are available in Microsoft Word: “Heading 1”, “Heading 2”, “Heading 3”. Usually, the title of the document uses the style “Heading 1”, in the text for subheadings use “Heading 2”, and in files with a more complex hierarchy, the subheading “Heading 3” is indispensable.

You can change the style settings yourself:

  1. Click the arrow in the lower right corner in the Styles area.
  2. In the “Styles” window, click on the “Manage Styles” button.
  3. In the Manage Styles window, change the settings for the selected style or create a new style.

If necessary, you can add styles for headings of greater nesting to the document:

  1. On the Links tab, click the Table of Contents button.
  2. Select “Custom Table of Contents…” from the context menu.
  3. In the “Contents” window, in the “Contents” tab, in the “General” section, in the “Levels” field, enter the number suitable for the title level.
  4. Click on the “OK” button.

If necessary, select a higher nesting level for the headings used in this document: “Heading 4”, “Heading 5”, etc. See how the new headings for this document appear in the “Print Document Sample” or “Web Document Sample” windows “.

Many are interested in the answer to the question of how to make page numbers in the content automatically. If it is necessary to indicate page numbers in the table of contents of the document, then you need to activate the item “Show page numbers” (this option is enabled by default). Accordingly, if you do not need content numbering in this particular document, uncheck this setting item in Word.

Customize the display of numbers to the right. This setting is enabled by default.

In the “Placeholder” field, select the style for the padding (dots, dashes, solid line) between the heading title and the page number. Choose the appropriate option or turn off this option to remove periods in the table of contents of a Word document.

How to make content (table of contents) in Word manually

It may well happen that the document does not have headings formatted with certain styles. In this case, you need to add a table of contents to the page of the Word document yourself.

Do the following:

  1. In an open Word document window, open the Links menu.
  2. Place the mouse cursor in a suitable place to insert the table of contents.
  3. In the Table of Contents group, click the Table of Contents button.
  4. In the “Built-in” menu that opens, select “Manual Table of Contents”.
  5. In the place where the mouse pointer is located in the open Word file, a table of contents area will appear in which you need to manually add document headings.

The disadvantage of this method is that if the titles of sections of the document change, you will have to apply these changes manually. If you change or add text content, and because of this, the page numbering may change, you will need to change the page numbers in the table of contents yourself.

Taking into account the above, it is better to use the simplest option: create content in Word automatically with page numbers and a suitable heading style.

Automatic table of contents in Word: an easy way

Take advantage of the application’s built-in features to quickly make an automatic table of contents for a Word document. In the source text, headings must be highlighted in advance, according to the hierarchical structure of this document.

Go through the following steps:

  1. In the Word document window, click the Links tab.
  2. Place the mouse pointer where you want to insert the table of contents.
  3. Click on the “Contents” button, which is located in the “Contents” group.
  4. In the menu that opens, select from the list one of the styles of automatically collected tables of contents that match the parameters, for example, the style “Auto-assembled table of contents 1”.
  5. A table of contents area will appear at the position of the mouse cursor with all the headings and page numbers that are in this document.

As a result of this operation, an automatic table of contents was made in Word in our document.

By default, each heading has a filler (dotted line) and a page number. You can change these settings using the Custom Table of Contents feature.

If you press the “Ctrl” key and then click on the title of the chapter of the document from the title, there will be an automatic transition to the place where the corresponding section of the document is located.

How to make a table of contents a separate page in Word

When drawing up a document, you may need a separate page on which the table of contents will be placed in the Word. To implement this feature, use the page break feature.

You need to do the following:

  1. Place the mouse pointer in front of the table of contents.
  2. Press the “Ctrl” + “Enter” keys.
  3. Click with the mouse cursor after the table of contents area.
  4. Again, you need to press the “Ctrl” + “Enter” keys.

Selection of additional options for the document table of contents

For some users, the changes made to the table of contents settings automatically are not enough. In this case, it is possible to adjust the settings of the additional parameters of the table of contents.

You will need to do the following:

  1. Open the Links tab in the Word document window.
  2. Go to the “Contents” group, and then click on the “Contents” button.
  3. In the menu that opens, click on “Custom Table of Contents”.
  4. The Table of Contents tab opens in the Table of Contents window.
  5. To change some settings, click on the “Settings…” button.
  6. The Table of Contents Options window contains options related to text style settings, outline levels, and margins for table of contents elements.
  7. On the Table of Contents tab, click on the Edit… button to open the style selection tool for each heading level.
  8. If you click on the “Change …” button, you will have access to additional options applied to this heading: style, formatting, font, indents, spacing, etc.
  9. Don’t forget to click the “OK” button to apply the settings.

How to change the created table of contents

There are situations when, after creating a table of contents, you may need to make some adjustments to its style or formatting.

Do the following:

  1. In the open Word document window, click on the table of contents area.
  2. A panel will appear in the upper left corner of the table of contents area, on which you should click on the “Contents” button.
  3. From the open menu, select a different formatting method for the content of this document.

How to update the table of contents in Word

After making changes and additions to the text of the document, the formatting of the table of contents must be updated. This will be needed, for example, if the page numbering has changed.

There are three simple ways to make the table of contents up to date.

1 way:

  1. Click the table of contents area in the document.
  2. In the Table of Contents area, click Update Table.

2 way:

  1. In the open document window, click on the table of contents area.
  2. In the table of contents area, in the upper left part, a panel will appear on which you need to click on the “Update table …” button.

3 way:

  1. Right click on the table of contents area.
  2. Select Update Field from the context menu.
  3. In the Update Table of Contents window, select one of the following options:
  • update page numbers only;
  • update entirely.

How to remove the table of contents in Word

In some cases, the document table of contents becomes unnecessary, so it must be removed. To delete the content (table of contents) in Word, use one of the suggested methods.

1 way:

  1. Click on the title area of ​​the document.
  2. In the menu that appears, located in the upper left part of the table of contents area, click on the “Contents” button.
  3. In the drop-down menu, select “Remove Table of Contents”.

2 way:

  1. In the window of an open Word document, go to the “Links” tab.
  2. In the Table of Contents group, click on the Table of Contents button.
  3. In the open menu, select “Delete Table of Contents”.

Article Conclusions

When creating a Word document, it is necessary to complete the design, one of the elements of which is the table of contents or the content of the text document. The table of contents allows you to quickly navigate to the desired section in the content, serves to attract attention and shows the structure of the document.

The user can create a table of contents manually, or use the built-in functions of the application. In the case of using built-in options, the creation of a table of contents in the document is performed automatically with pre-selected design styles.

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