Creating a table of contents in a Microsoft Word document is a two-step process. First, identify the text that you want to appear in the Table of Contents. Second, tell Word to insert the Table of Contents. Having created your Table of Contents, you can then customize it in several ways, to suit your needs.Creating a table of contents in a Microsoft Word document is a two-step process.

First, identify the text that you want to appear in the Table of Contents. Second, tell Word to insert the Table of Contents. Having created your Table of Contents, you can then customize it in several ways, to suit your needs.

Identify the text that you want to appear in the Table of Contents

In your document, click within the first major heading that you want to appear in the Table of Contents. Apply the Heading 1 style to that paragraph. The easiest way to apply the Heading 1 style is:

  • in Word 2003 and earlier: click the Style box on the Formatting toolbar and choose Heading 1
  • in Word 2007 and Word 2010: on the Home tab, in the Styles group, click the Heading 1 thumbnail.

If these don't appeal to you, there are several other ways to apply a style.

In the same way, apply the Heading 1 style to other major headings in your document. Apply the Heading 2 style to sub-headings, Heading 3 style to sub-sub-headings etc.

If you don't like the way the heading styles look (eg, you want a different font or font size or colour), don't format the text directly. Instead, modify the heading styles.

Create the Table of Contents

Word 2003 and earlier versions

  1. Click where you want your Table of Contents to appear.
  2. Display the Table of Contents dialog. To do that:
    1. In Word 2000, choose Insert > Index and Tables.
    2. In Microsoft Word 2002 and 2003, choose Insert > Reference > Index and Tables.
  3. Click on the Table of Contents tab. Click OK.

Word 2007 and Word 2010

  1. Choose References > Table of Contents.
  2. Choose one of the following items on the menu.
    • There may be custom tables of contents on your menu. If you click the thumbnail for a custom table of contents, your table of contents will be inserted into a content control. (There is further information about content controls below.)
    • There are two built-in 'automatic' tables of contents: Automatic Table 1 and Automatic Table 2. If you click the thumbnail for either of these, your table of contents will be inserted into a content control, and Word will add a heading. (There is further information about content controls below.) The only difference between the two is the text of the heading ("Contents" and "Table of contents").
    • There is a built-in "Manual Table". This takes you back to the era of the electric typewriter. If you like typing things out for no good reason and your life expectancy is a lot longer than mine, this is for you.
    • At the bottom of the menu, you can choose Insert table of contents. This displays the Table of Contents dialog that was also in earlier versions of Word. If you want two or more tables of contents in one document, you must choose this option for the at least the second and subsequent tables of contents.

Using a table of contents content control in Word 2007 or Word 2010

You can use the content control to manage your table of contents (Figure 1).

 

Figure 1: A table of contents in a content control

If you attempt to insert another custom or built-in table of contents that will be placed in a content control, then the new one will over-ride the existing one. If you want more than one table of contents in a document, use the "Insert table of contents" menu option for all, or at least the second and subsequent, tables of contents.

How to create a custom table of contents and have it appear on the Table of Contents menu in Word 2007 or Word 2010

You can save a custom table of contents and have it appear on the References > Table of Contents menu.

  1. Insert your table of contents into any document, and adjust it to suit your needs.
  2. Add text above and/or below the table of contents as required (for example, add a heading "Table of Contents", preferably formatted with the built-in TOC Heading style).
  3. Select the text above, the table of contents, and the text below.
  4. Insert > Quick Parts> Save Selection to Quick Part Gallery.
  5. In the Create New Building Block dialog:
    • give your table of contents a name
    • in the Gallery list, choose Table of Contents
    • in the Category list, choose 'Create new category' and name your new category
    • click OK.

You can now insert your table of contents using References > Table of Contents. It will be inserted into a content control, like the built-in tables of contents.

Word displays entries in the menu in alphabetical order by category. Sadly, there are few letters in the alphabet before the "B" for "Built-In". If you want your custom tables of contents to appear before the Built-In category, but there is no name between "A" and "Built-In" that suits you, then put a space at the beginning of the category name. For example, name your category " Shauna". A space is alphabetized before a letter, so " Shauna" will be displayed before "Built-In".

Pin It