Whether you’re writing a school report or submitting a work project, an organized Table of Content is always an excellent way to make an impression. After all, first impressions are best made as well as you can. Thanks to Word, making that is as easy as ever.
So, whether you’re looking to build a simple version or searching for ways to enhance the table- we’ve got you covered. Get ready to make notes and stand out on your next project!
Insert table of contents in Word
To insert a table of contents in Word, all you have to do is:
- Place a cursor where you want your table of content to be.
- Go to the References tab, and click on Insert Table of Contents.
- You will see several options. You can select the Format you like the best.
And… Voila! You should be done. Unless-
Error in Table of Content
Did you get an error message when you tried to add a table of contents? If yes, then you have missed Format the section. Formatting divides your document into sections (Headings, Subheadings, etc.) so that Word can recognize the elements to add to your table.
Most of us tend to use Bold, Bullets or Numbering, or Italics to format our text. But this is not enough to create a table of contents. But don’t worry, it’s pretty simple too.
- Click on the Home tab from the top header.
- On the styles section, you can see different blocks that say “normal,” “heading 1”, “heading 2”, and so on.
- Highlight the portion of the text that you want to make the heading (Titles, etc.), and click on the box that says “heading 1.”
- Similarly, you can continue formatting the whole text by dividing them into headings, sub-headings, and more.
- When the table of content is formed, heading 1 will come first, and the sub-headings will come under them as categories, as shown in the picture below.
Once you’ve formatted the entire article, go back to where you want to add the table of contents and repeat the process outlined above. And there you have it!
Updating The Table Of Contents
What if you decide to add a few more headings or add few more pages that affect the page numbers? Unfortunately, Word does not support automatic updates yet. But don’t worry, doing so will only require a few more steps.
- Click on the title of your table of contents.
- The whole table will be selected, and you will see a file icon with an exclamation mark that says “update table.” Click on it.
- A pop-up will appear with two options. If you have added/altered headings and sub-headings, choose to Update the entire table and click OK.
- If you have just added or subtracted text that only changed the page count, then choose update page number, and click OK.
You can make updates to your table this quickly as many times as you like.
Now, let’s get to the fun part, that is
Customizing Your Table Of Content
There are several ways you can customize your table on Word. From built-in to manual to completely customized, you can play around with it to get the outcome you desire.
Inserting Table of Contents in Word (Built-In)
Automatic Table 1 & 2
Immediately when you open the drop-down menu of “Insert a table,” you will get these options on top. If you are in a rush or are just looking for a simple version- these are your way to go. They will list all the headings and sub-headings as you’ve formatted them and present them in the form of a table alongside their page numbers. The two options vary in font size, type, and headings.
This option will give you a Table Of Contents template, where you can add the headings and sub-headings manually. When you click on it, the following table will appear.
- You can click on the Headings and change the name accordingly.
- You will only be given two groups of Heading 1, 2, and 3. If you want to add more, all you have to do is copy the section and paste it.
- You have the option of deleting any section that you like. E.g., if you do not want Heading 3 in a section, you can select the entire portion and delete it.
- You can also change the page numbers here.
As you can see, this option serves more like a template, where you can make as many changes as possible.
Inserting Table Of Contents In Word Manually
This is the slightly more advanced but also more fun option in Word. From here, you can change your table entirely according to your wishes.
- Go to References > Table of Contents
- Click on “Insert Table of Contents” from the bottom of the drop-down. Insert Table of Contents”>
A dialog box will appear, from where you can make several changes to your table. Here are some of the things you can add to yours!
Print and Web Preview
As the name suggests, Print preview is how your table of contents will appear when your print it out on paper, and the same goes for the other one.
The page numbers will not appear on the web Preview. You can choose whether or not to add hyperlinks. Clicking on those links will direct the user to the part of the file where that particular section is located.
You can choose whether or not you want the page numbers to be seen.
If you select the right alignment, the numbers will appear on the right-most of the page. Otherwise, they will appear right next to the headings.
Tab Leader is what covers the space between the title of your headings and the page numbers. You could choose it to be empty or have various styling options (dotted, lines, etc.)
This section is where you choose how you want your table of contents to look. Word currently supports seven formats, each with unique text fonts and sizes, tab leaders, page alignments, and more. Why don’t you try all of them out and see which one suits your document the most?!
This is where you choose how many layers you want your Table of Contents to be divided into. You can choose up to five, but if you want more, click on Options.
When you click on the options box, you will be redirected to another dialog box. From here, you can choose if you want to add more layers from the Styles option. Essentially, this is where you “teach” how to pick data from your word document to present in the final table of contents.
As we’ve mentioned above, it’s mandatory to add styles to your text for you to create an automatic table of content. But what if you don’t like how they appear on your document? Don’t worry, you can change them too!
- Right-click on the style you want to change from the gallery in the top header.
- Click on Modify.
- A dialog box will appear, from where you can change the font, color, formatting, and many more.
That’s it! We hope this helped you to cover all your doubts on how to insert a table of contents in Word. Do let us know what tip you liked the most. You can also share your experiences of creating unique formats in Word.
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