How to create a Table of Contents in Microsoft Word

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How to create a simple Table of Contents (TOC) in MS Word Document

How-to-guide

Prepared by

David Suresh Marumudi

Technical / Content Writer & Freelancer


Table of Contents

Introduction. 3

Instructions 3

Step 1. 4

Step 2. 6

Step 3. 7

Step 4. 8

Conclusion. 10


Introduction

Table of contents (TOC) is required for any document that has lot of content interspersed with different levels of headings. A technical document particularly carry with it, complexity and different levels of information under leveled or numbered headings like, 1, 1.1, 1.1.1, 1.1.1.1 so on and so forth. Creation of a Table of Contents to reflect such headings cannot be done manually practically speaking.

MS Word has an excellent option to create a TOC using a few clicks on your keyboard or mouse that results in generation of a hyperlinked TOC. Wonderful it is, but one needs to learn the trick to create a TOC in a Word Document; save a novice user of MS Word, many I assume would handle the task as easy as having their cup of tea.

I take an opportunity to demonstrate the procedure to create a simple TOC based on the existing and default styles.

Instructions

Please follow the below steps in exact sequence to create a TOC in MS Word. I assume a reader of this document would have minimum knowledge of MS Word, to be able to successively create a TOC in the end.


Step 1

  • Open a new word document.
  • Enter ‘Table of Contents’at the cursor and select the entire text. Align it to the center, increase the font size to 16 and make it Bold.
  • Press Ctrl + Enter. The cursor moves to the next page.
  • Click Formatà Styles and Formatting as shown in the following figure.
  • Styles and Formatting screen appears to the right as shown in the following figure.


Step 2

  • While the cursor is still at the beginning of the second page-
    • Click on Heading 1 in the Pick formatting to apply section of the window as shown in the figure.
  • Enter at the cursor ‘Introduction’ and press Enter. The entered text will have the Heading 1 format and style applied to it.
  • At the next line, enter ‘This is a guide to create Table of Contents in a word document’ and press Enter. The entered text will have ‘Normal’ format and style applied to it.
  • Click on Heading 2 in the Pick formatting to apply window.
  • Enter at the cursor ‘Instructions’ and press Enter. The entered text will have the Heading 2 format and style applied to it.
  • Enter the following text “Please follow the below steps in sequence”.
  • Press Enter and apply Heading 3 for next level and Enter ‘Step 1’ there. The format and style of Heading 3 is applied to ‘Step 1’.
  • Go to the beginning of the document (press Ctrl + Home) and place the cursor at the first line just under the ‘Table of Contents’ title.
  • Click on InsertàReferenceàIndex and Tables as shown in the following figure.


Step 3

  • The following Index and Tables screen appears:

Step 4

  • Click on Table of Contents Tab and the following dialog appears:
  • Click on Options… button and the following dialog appears:
  • In the above dialog under the Available Styles Heading 1, Heading 2 and Heading 3 are ‘tick’ marked and under TOC Level numbers 1, 2 and 3 are selected by default.
  • Click OK and the Table of Contents based on the headings you created will be seen as shown in the following figure.
  • As you add new headings further, right click any where in the TOC to update the TOC. The following dialog appears.
  • Click Update Field to update the entire Table of Contents. The newly created headings will appear in the TOC automatically.
  • To browse to a specific heading from the TOC press and hold the Ctrl key, point with the mouse pointer to the specified heading and click on it. The required page appears to the user.


Conclusion

With the above guidelines you will be able to create a simple and formal TOC today. But during real-time, you will be required to create your own heading style and format and to generate a TOC out of it is a kind of tricky situation. While the procedure to create the TOC remains the same, you only need to keep that particular style active from the available styles during step 4 above. Hope I had been of help to you.

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