Create a Table of Contents in Word Automatically

Word will automatically populate a table of contents for any file. Here’s the easiest method:

  1. Make sure each heading is assigned a Heading Style from the Styles gallery (easiest found on the Home ribbon).
  2. Place the cursor where you’d like the table of contents to appear.
  3. From the References ribbon, click the Table of Contents button at the far left. Select the preferred look (see next figure).
On the References ribbon, the TOC button is far left and opens this menu.

Troubleshooting

Changes made to the headings within the document will not be reflected in the table of contents until it is updated. Same goes for pagination; if revising content changes pagination, update the table of contents to update the page numbers in the ToC. Right-click anywhere in the table of contents (or the down arrow at the right of the blue field header) and select Update Table… from the context menu that opens.

Use arrow keys to navigate through the table of contents in order to manually make changes to it, since clicking on the table will navigate to the related page. (Not the best method but sometimes required.)

If using custom heading styles, be sure to set their hierarchy so they will appear in the automated table of contents.



Got a gnarly Word problem? Submit your problem and we’ll try to answer it in the new Q&A thread.


Never miss a Word-Wrangling Wednesday tip. Sign up here to get them by email.

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

By practicing one tip each week, you can invest 13 hours this year into professional development. To search the blog, use the orange bar right above this.


© This blog and all materials in it are copyright Adrienne Montgomerie on the date of publication. All rights reserved. No portion may be stored or distributed without express written permission. Asking is easy!

Share this post

Leave a Reply