How to: Create a table of contents in Microsoft Word

Learn how to create a table of contents using Microsoft Office Word.

How it works

If you want a chapter heading, subtitle, or outline level to automatically appear in the table of contents, format it with a built-in heading style. Office Word assembles a table by searching for text with those styles. At any time, you can change headings, add or remove pages, or move content around in the document, and Office Word will reassemble the table of contents when you run the Update Table command.

For printed documents, Office Word automatically inserts page numbers next to entries in the table of contents. If you create a document for the web, you can switch from Print Layout view to Web Layout view and the entries become hyperlinks making navigation through a document much easier. Save your document as a webpage, and the table of contents links are available when you open the page in a browser.

Prepare your document for a table of contents

  1. Type text that you want to use as a heading, and then press Enter to place the text in its own paragraph. You can add a heading after you have written a section or before you start writing.

  3. Click anywhere within the text, and then, on the Home tab in the Styles group, click the Heading 1, Heading 2, or Heading 3 style. The text becomes a heading. The heading numbers correspond to outline levels: Heading 3 is a sub-level of Heading 2, which is a sub-level of Heading 1. Your choice of heading number depends on how you want to organize your document.
  4. Continue writing the document and add headings using the built-in heading styles.

Create a table of contents

  1. Click where you want to add a table of contents. To add a page before the beginning of your document, press Ctrl + Home, and then on the Insert tab, click Blank Page. Then, click the new page.
  2. On the References tab, click Table of Contents, and then select an Automatic Table. Office Word inserts a table of contents based on your headings. At any time, you can come back to this menu and select Insert Table of Contents to create a new table with custom settings. For example, you could add a heading level to the table or change the table layout.

  4. If you plan to distribute your document in print form, save it as an Office Word document in Print Layout view, so the table will display page numbers. If you want to be able to open the document in web browsers, save the document as a webpage, so the table will contain hyperlinks.

Update a table of contents

  1. Click the table, and in the toolbar at the top of the table, click Update Table, or on the References tab, click Update Table.
  2. Choose whether to Update page numbers only or Update entire table, and click OK. It can take some time to update the entire table for a large document, like a novel. But for most work, it makes sense to update the entire table so that it accurately reflects any changes you have made to the heading names.

Sourced from the Microsoft in Education website.