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Bob Flisser Mar 27, 2017
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When you’re creating or editing a long document, you’llprobably have lớn create a table of contents. That might sound lượt thích a chore, butfortunately, you can vày it in just a few clicks. Then, if you change the document, Word can update the table of nội dung instantly. 

Best of all, Word includes hyperlinks to lớn the various sections in your table of contents, so it isn"t just a visual aid forprinted documents, but it"s also perfect khổng lồ make easy-to-browse online documents & PDFs with.

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Creating the table of contents in Word itself is simple, but the tricky part is getting it lớn work the way you want. In this tutorial, I"ll show you everything you need khổng lồ make a simple, auto-generated table of contents, & then get it lớn look the way you want in every version of Microsoft Word.

How to Make a Table of Contents in Microsoft Word (Screencast)

You can follow along using your own document, or if you prefer, tải về the zip file included for this tutorial. It contains a document called The Age of Einstein.docx, which is a public domain name physics textbook (credit lớn the author, Professor Frank W.K. Firk).


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Watch the video clip screencast above or follow the written tutorial instructions below for more detail on how to make a table of contents in Word.

Creating Your Table of Contents in Word

There are a few ways of creating a table of contents in Word, but only two that you’llever use

Create them automatically from built-in stylesCreate them from your custom styles

These methods work mostly the same in Windows and Mac versions of Microsoft Word.

Using MS Word built-in styles is the fastest và most commontechnique, và using custom styles takes only a little more work. Sometimes,you’ll want khổng lồ use both techniques in the same document. Once you have a table of contents (TOC) ina document, you can format it with its own styles. You don’t want lớn format theTOC lượt thích regular text, because the formatting can easily get wiped out.

How the Textbook is Organized

Before doing anything lớn the document, let’s see how it’sorganized. Page 1 is the title, page 2 is blank và will hold the table of contents, page 3is the preface, and after that comes the text. As you scroll down, notice that headingsand subheadings are formatted.

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The textbook as level 1, 2 and 3 headings.

The best way khổng lồ see the structure of the document is withthe Navigation Pane. (In some versions of Word for Mac, it may be called the Document bản đồ Pane.)

In Windows, go khổng lồ the Viewtab, then click the check box to enable the Navigation Pane.

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The Word Navigation Pane is a great way of looking through a document.

On the Mac, click the Sidebar option lớn show the drop-down menu. Click the arrow next lớn the option và click Navigation. (On older versions of the Mac software, the option is called Document maps Pane.)

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On the Mac, use Sidebar > Navigation to navigate through a document.

On your Mac or PC, go back lớn the Hometab if you’re not already there. Keep your eye on the Styles box on the ribbon,and click the items in the pane khổng lồ navigate through the book. 

Notice that theitems with whole numbers – lượt thích 2.Understanding the Physical Universe – are formatted as Heading 1, & itemswith decimals – like 2.1 Reality and PureThought – are formatted as Heading 2. There are also a few decimal items –like 4.5 Space Travel – that areformatted as Heading 3.

Tip: whencreating a document, the shortcuts for applying the Heading 1, 2 & 3 stylesare Ctrl-Alt-1, Ctrl-Alt-2, và Ctrl-Alt-3(and Command-Opt-1, Command-Opt -2, và Command-Opt-3 on the Mac).

Generating a Table of Contents Using Built-In Header Styles in Word

Word can now turn those Heading styles into table of contentsentries. Click at the đứng đầu of page 2. (Tip: in Windows, press Ctrl-G,type 2, then press Enter. On the Mac, press Command-Opt-G, type 2, then press Return.)

In Windows, go to lớn the Referencestab on the ribbon, click the Table ofContents button on the left, then choose one of the two built-in tablesfrom the list. Lưu ý that the thumbnails show that Headings 1, 2 & 3 will beincluded.

It’s almost the same on the Mac. Go lớn the Insert menu, choose Index and Tables, then pick one of theformats on the left and click OK.This dialog box also shows that Headings 1-3 will be included.

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You can insert a table of contents in Word just by clicking one of the samples. (Example shown is on Windows.)

As soon as you choose one, the table of contents gets inserted starting onpage 2, và Word automatically inserts a couple of more pages, so it all fits. In Windows, you can Ctrl-click one of the items, và it will hyperlink to the chiến thắng in the document.

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A table of contents is a field that you can update in MS Word. In Windows, fields have a gray background.

This works great, but there’s one problem. Before theIntroduction, there is a Preface thatshould be included in the table of contents. Và just before Appendix A1 is the heading forthe Appendix, và that should also beincluded. But they weren’t, because they’re both formatted with a custom stylecalled Large heading, & customstyles don’t get included in the default table of contents. The second method of creating table of contents in Word will fix that.

Creating a Table of Contents From Custom Styles in Word

Word can include any styles in a table of contents. We justhave to lớn tell it which ones to lớn choose. & we can update the table, rather than havingto delete it & start over.

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In Windows, go back khổng lồ the References tab, click the Tableof Contents button, then near the bottom of the menu, choose Custom Table of Contents. Click the Options button near the bottom of the dialog box to display the Table of Contents Options dialog box.

On the Mac, go lớn back khổng lồ the Insert menu & choose Indexand Tables. In the Table of Contents section, click the Options button.

On the Mac or PC the Table of Contents Options dialog box shows that the Heading 1 style will have TOC level 1,the Heading 2 style will have TOC level 2, and the Heading 3 style will haveTOC cấp độ 3.

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Word uses its built-in styles to lớn determine what goes into the table of contents. (Windows example)

Scroll down to lớn the bottom of the các mục (on the Mac, you"ll use the down slider). Then, in the box for Large heading, type a 1 to make it level 1. Table of nội dung levels cancome from more than one style.

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To include a custom style in the table of contents, assign a heading màn chơi to it.

Click OK in theTable of Contents Options dialog, then OK again in the Table of Contents dialog box. When Word displays a message asking if you want khổng lồ replace thetable, choose Yes. The Preface & Appendix are now both included in the tableof contents.

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After adding custom styles to lớn the TOC list, text formatted with those styles will appear in the table.

Manually Updating the Table of Contents in Word

There are other times when you’ll want to lớn update the tablemanually. This is handy when you change the text of one of the headings andwant the change reflected in the table of contents.

Scroll down khổng lồ the page with the preface. At the đứng top of the page replacePREFACE with FORWARD. Make sure it still uses the Large heading style.

Go back to the đứng đầu of the table of contents và click in it. Lưu ý that ithas a gray background; that means it’s a field, and fields can usually beupdated. 

Click the Update Tablebutton either on the TOC itself (that button doesn"t always appear) or on the References tab, and the first entry changes to FORWARD. (On the Mac, right-click the table and choose Update Field from the pop-up menu. Choose the Update entire table option và click OK.)

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Update the table of contents with either of the Update Table buttons or by right-clicking on the table and selecting Update field. (Windows example shown here.)

Now that the table of contents displays the correct text, wecan apply nicer formatting though.

How khổng lồ Modify Table of Contents Styles in Word

Each heading màn chơi of the table of contents has its ownstyle that’s automatically applied. All we have to vị is change the formattingof the styles to change the table’s appearance, here"s how:

In Windows, in the References tab of the ribbon, click again on the Table of Contents button và choose Custom Table of Contents, near thebottom. In the Table of Contents dialog box, click Modify.On the Mac, click Insert > Indexand Tables. On the left side, choose From Template, thenclick Modify. Everything else worksthe same way as in Windows.In the Table of Contents dialog box, click Modify, and another dialog box appears,showing style names and formatting for the TOC heading levels. Select TOC1.Click the Modifybutton just below it, & the Style dialog box appears. (On the Mac, it"s called the Properties dialog box.)
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Use the Style dialog box in Word to choose the heading levels you want lớn format.

Format the style with Arial or Helvetica, 12 points, bold.Then click OK.

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Modify the style of a TOC thành công is the same as modifying the style of any other text in Word.Repeat for the TOC 2 style, và set it to lớn Arialor Helvetica, 12 points, normal.Repeat for the TOC 3 style, & set it khổng lồ Arialor Helvetica, 11 points, normal.

The table of contents should now look lượt thích this:

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After editing the table of contents styles and updating the table, you"ll see the new formatting.

Conclusion

When you have a long document, you don’t have to fearcreating a table of contents. Whether you’re using Windows or a Mac, you caninsert one in just a few clicks, then use the same dialog box to change theformatting.

As you learned in this table of contents tutorial, remember not khổng lồ apply formatting directly to the table, because itcan get wiped out if you replace it. If you make any changes lớn the Word document itself, remember lớn click the vị trí cao nhất of the TOC & update it. Leave a bình luận below if you have any trouble making or tweaking your table of contents.

To learn more about working with Microsoft Word, study the following tutorials:

Editorial Note: This post wasoriginally published in 2014. It has been comprehensively revised lớn make itcurrent, accurate, và up to date by our staff—with special assistance from Laura Spencer.