How to add a table of contents in a word document


When reading a book, the table of contents makes it easier to navigate through the contents. You can also generate a table of contents in your Word document.

A table of contents helps especially when your document is large. It allows the reader to locate and navigate to a specific topic of interest. This also makes your document more user-friendly. At the same time, it becomes easier for you to edit the content in your document.

To add a table of contents, your document must be using the first three heading styles. These are Heading 1, heading 2, and Heading 3.

You can add the heading styles as you are writing the document. But if you have not done so, you can add them later as well. Once you have added the heading styles, you can create the table of contents.

Word allows you to:

  • Create a table of contents
  • Update the table of contents
  • Remove the table of contents

Let us show you how to apply each of the above.


Create a Table of Contents

Step #1: Open the document

Open the Word document where you want to insert the table of contents.

It is customary to create the table of contents at the beginning of the document. However, some authors prefer to create it at the end.

Place your cursor where you want the table of contents to appear.

Step #2: Open the built-in list

Click on the Reference tab on the top menu bar to change the ribbon.

In the section Table of Contents, click on the Table of Contents icon.

This opens the built-in list for the table of contents.

Step #3: Insert a table of contents

The built-in list offers three choices:

  • Automatic Table 1 – Word applies the main heading as Contents. It copies headings and subheadings from those in the document.
  • Automatic Table 2 – Word applies the main heading as Table of Contents. It copies headings and subheadings from those in the document.
  • Manual Table – Word applies the main heading as Table of Contents. It allows you to manually add headings and subheadings of your choice.

You can click on any one of the three. Let us click on Automatic Table 2.

Word introduces a table of contents.

In the table of contents, you can press Ctrl and click on any heading or subheading to navigate to it.


Update the Table of Contents

Step #1: Open the document

Open the Word document that has a table of contents.

Click on the main heading – Table of Contents.

A small box will open above the main heading.

Step #2: Update table

Click on Update Table. A dialog box to Update Table of Contents will open.

The Update Table of Contents dialog box offers two choices:

  • Update page numbers only
  • Update entire table

You may have edited the contents of your document, but not the headings and subheadings. This will change the page numbers for different sections in your document. Select the Update page numbers only to show the changes in page numbers in the table of contents.

If you have added or deleted headings and or subheadings, you must Update the entire table. This will update all headings, subheadings, and page numbers.

After making your choice, click on Ok.

Word will update the table of contents accordingly.

Click anywhere in your document to close the small box above the table of contents.


Remove the Table of Contents

Step #1: Open the document

Open the document from which you want to remove the table of contents.

Step #2: Open the built-in list

Click on the References tab on the top menu bar to change the ribbon.

In the section Table of Contents, click on the Table of Contents icon.

This opens the built-in list for the table of contents.

Step #3: Remove the table of contents

Click on Remove Table of Contents.

Word no longer shows the table of contents.


Conclusion

Use our step-by-step instructions above. You can easily add, update, or remove the table of contents in your Word document.

1 thought on “How to add a table of contents in a word document”

  1. I have been unable to use the automatic table of contentsan dam using the manual table of contents.
    I have been instructed that it is due to having msWord 2007 on my computer.

    Reply

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