Table of Contents in Word

This quick tip will show you how you can automatically populate a table of contents into your Microsoft Word documents.

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How to create a Table of Contents in Word video transcript:

Have you ever spent too much time making a table of contents manually in Microsoft Word, then later wanted to make changes to your word document to find out that every single thing in your table of contents needed to be changed. Well, there’s a faster and more accurate way.

We’re going to learn how to automatically create a table of contents and update quick.

This document may look familiar from a previous quick tip. We have a title page, an area for a table of contents, and some text.

In order to automatically create a table of contents, we need to make sure that our headings for the various sections are formatted in the styles section.

Do this by putting your cursor on your first heading and then go to the home tab under the Styles section and click Heading 1.

You can do this for the next heading as well.

You are not locked into the default heading style. You can change the way this text looks through highlighting it and making changes then go back to the Styles section and right click on Heading 1 and then click Update Heading 1 to Match Selection.

Then you can continue changing the other headers.

I also want to point out a neat feature in the View tab under the Show section: the Navigation Pane.

This allows us to quickly jump from one heading to another

I actually liked the way my headings originally looked so I’m going to change them back by selecting the text I like and updating it just like I did before. Styles section right click Heading 1 and Update.

Once you have all the headers marked as Header 1, we are ready to create our table.

Put your cursor where you want to insert a table of contents.

Go to the References Tab under Table of Contents and select Table of Contents.

Click on Insert Table of Contents.

Feel free to explore these different options.

We are pretty much only paying attention to the way that Heading 1 looks here since we are not using any other headings. If you like the way it looks, click OK.

And there we have it.

The great thing about this table is that it’s smart enough to know what changes you make to other sections.

For example … if I wanted to change one of these headings …and wanted to move it to the next page with a page break (control enter)…

We need the table to recognize these changes. Well, it does.

Scroll back up to the table of contents, right-click it, and select Update Field and check update the entire table. Click OK.

Any changes we made are automatically updated.

Now you know how to create an Automatic Table of Contents and update it in Microsoft Word.