How To Create Table Of Contents in Word: Step By Step Guide  

by Cws Team

This article will explain how to make a Table of Contents in Microsoft Word. A table of Contents is important for organizing long documents so that readers can quickly find information from different parts. Firstly, ensure that the document has been formatted correctly by using heading styles such as Heading 1, Heading 2, and so forth.

Then, position your cursor where you want the Table of contents displayed. Find the “references” tab on the Ribbon and click on the “table of contents” button under it. Select an automatic mode from the drop-down menu, and then Word can automatically generate a table of contents based on your heading styles.

The Table of contents may be updated at any time by clicking the “Update Table” button, which considers any changes made to the document. Thus, these steps help create and maintain an efficient Word table of contents.

How To Create a Table Of Contents in Word?

To create a Table of Contents in Microsoft Word is as easy as A B C. To generate a Table of Contents for your document, follow these steps:

Formatting Your Document: Before creating a table of contents, organize your document using headings. Use Heading 1 for main sections, 2 for subsections, and 3 for sub-subsections; these styles can be found under the “Home” tab.

Positioning the Cursor: Place the cursor where you want to see your Table of contents in the document, usually at the starting point, though it can be anywhere you like it to be.

Insert The Table Of Contents:

  • Navigate to the Word toolbar’s reference tab.
  • Click on the ‘Table of Contents’ button in the groupings of Table of Contents.
  • Choose from the list of options available. There are several automatic styles provided by Word that you can choose from.

Updating The Table Of Contents: If your document has changed after you made it, updating it is easy. Click anywhere on the Table of contents and then “update table” on the floating menu or under the references tab. You may update only page numbers or the entire Table of contents.

Customizing The Table Of Contents (Optional): For more customization options, click “Custom table of contents” in the drop-down menu. Here, you can adjust the levels of displayed headings, change formatting, and more.

With these instructions, one will create organized table content in Word that enhances readability and facilitates navigation within the document.

Customizing the Table Of Contents in Word

Modifying thTablele of contents (TOC) in Microsoft Word allows you to adjust it to suit your document’s specific requirements. Here’s how you can customize it:

Access Customization Options:

Click here for thTablele of contents, or go to the “References” tab and click on “Table of Contents.”

Choose “Custom Table of Contents” from the dropdown menu. This opens the “Table of Contents” dialog box.

Modify General Settings:

Display levels: Set the number of heading levels to be displayed in the TOC. For example, setting it at three will include Heading 1, Heading 2, and Heading 3.

Tab leader: Select dots, dashes, or none as the tab leader between the entry text and the page number.

Formats: Choose one specified format from the list under Formats, such as Classic, Distinctive, and Formal.

Change TOC Styles:

To change the appearance for each TOC level (TOC 1, TOC 2, TOC 3, etc.), click “Modify.”

In the Style dialog box, choose the level you want to modify and click on Modify.

Adjust font style, size, color, indentation, other formatting, etc. If you are satisfied, click the OK button to record these changes.

Adjust Advanced Options:

Specify which styles should be included in the TOC by clicking on the ‘Options’ button located just below the ‘Table of Contents’ dialog box. For example, Include only headings with custom styles created by me.

Assign a given level number next to a style name so each style gets its heading type.

Update The Table Of Contents:

Afterward, close up this dialogue box by clicking OK and insert a customized table of contents into your doc

If necessary changes are made in your document, you can constantly update the TOC simply by clicking and selecting Update Table. Two options will be available: update page numbers only or update the wholTablele.

By using these customizing options, you can create a Table of Contents that suits your document’s framework, matches its visual style, and enhances its readability.

Managing and Updating the Table Of Contents in Word

Managing and updating the Table of Contents (TOC) in Microsoft Word ensures that it remains accurate and reflects your document’s structure. Here are the steps to effectively manage and update your TOC:

Manage the TOC

How to move from one part of a document to another by using the Table of Contents:

You can click on any topic in the Table of Contents to move it immediately to its position in the text. This is very helpful for long documents.

How to Edit a Pre-existing TOC:

If you need to change how the TOC looks or is set up after you have made it, click anywhere in it.

First, go to “References,” then choose “Table of Contents.”

Select “Custom Table of Contents” to bring up the customization dialog box. In this box, you can set things like the levels shown, styles, formatting, etc.

Deleting Your TOC: Highlight I Want To Delete It On The Keyboard And Press the Delete Button. Instead, Headings Then Click At ‘References’ Afterward, Press “Table Of Content” And Choose “Remove Table Of Content.”

Updating Page Numbers Only

For example, if changes were made that affect only pagination, e.g., when you add or delete texts, place the cursor within the table of contents aTableAfter pointing at floating menu items such as “Update table,” select them or pick terms from the references tab under the update table heading.

You are supposed now to choose only page numbers and press the OK button, which will update pagination but not content entries on this page, i.e., without altering the TOC entry.

Updating the Entire Table

Anytime a new heading has been introduced into your work or has undergone some structural or aspect modification, entire TOCs must be updated correspondingly. Continue with similar instructions: choose table contents->click->update table (at this point)->but say “update entire table.” This way, the TOC page numbers and titles will be refreshed.

Automatic Updates

Microsoft Word does not have automatic updating of the table of contents and table writing. You must update it manually anytime there is a substantial change in your document. Always make sure you make changes to your document first and update the table of contents bTable printing it out or making it final.


If incorrect updating of TOC occurs, ensure that each heading has the correct formatting style, such as heading-1 or heading-2, among other styles.

Also, check if any manual formatting overrides these styles, which may prevent entries from showing up in TOCs.

By consistently managing and updating your Table of Contents, you ensure it remains a valuable and accurate tool for navigating your document.


To conclude, it is essential to create a table of contents in Microsoft Word to navigate the document easily. To make a dynamic table of contents that changes with the document, ensure headings are correctly formatted and use built-in tools like MS Word to facilitate this process effectively.

This customization allows you to match the TOC with the rest of the document’s design elements, and updating it will make more sense, too. These skills improve readability and add professionalism that makes your work user-friendly. In academic, professional, or personal works, there should be a well-written Table of Contents if the document is a complete Word file.

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