Microsoft Word Intermediate Tutorial - Using Table of Contents

Welcome to our Microsoft Word Intermediate Tutorial. In this free tutorial, we will show you how to understand the essential skills needed to generate a standard or custom Table of Contents in Microsoft Word.

Anyone who creates large or technical documents should know how to use a Table of Contents (TOC). Having a table of contents in your document will enable your readers to find their way around that document a lot easier by using the Headings and Sub-headings as a guide.

There are two options to creating a TOC. The best way is to create it while you are typing the document, rather than going back through the document and entering them in.

Using the built-in heading styles

Microsoft Word has custom styles to choose from Three of Word's custom styles, Heading 1, Heading 2, and Heading 3, are normally the first choice for generating a TOC.

To create a top-level chapter or section heading that you want to appear in the TOC, type the text.

Then, you have several ways to apply the Heading 1 style:

  • Start by clicking anywhere in the paragraph that contains the text you want to include in the TOC
  • Go to Format then Style
  • Click on Heading 1 in the Styles list
  • Click Apply

You can also display the Formatting toolbar:

  • Click on the Style drop-down list
  • Select a style from that list

There are differences in Word's built-in heading styles in the body of the document. You can include some or all of those styles in your TOC.

After you've chosen the appropriate heading styles to your TOC items, follow this next step:

  • Go to 'Insert' then 'Index and Tables' then 'Table of Contents'
  • Click 'OK'

Format Text Headings

You can edit the appearance of the paragraphs formatted as Heading 1, Heading 2, and Heading 3. One method is to select one of those paragraphs, tweak the formatting to your own selection, then use the Format Painter tool to copy those new attributes to similar headings.

An alternative method isto :

  • Go to 'Format' then 'Style'
  • Choose the style you want to edit in the Styles list
  • Click 'Modify' when the 'Modify Style' dialog box appears
  • Click on 'Format' and add, edit, or remove styles as you want
  • Click on 'Save'

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Customise the TOC

If you wish to edit the way your TOC looks, you can select an existing TOC and reformat it. It is important to note that late edits cause changes in page numbering or TOC entries and when you select the table, press [F9], and update the entire table, or your custom formatting will be lost.

Create different styles for your TOC:

  • Go to 'Insert' then 'Index And Tables' tben 'Table Of Contents'. In the 'General' section
  • Click on the 'Formats' drop-down list

Here, you can select a number of TOC templates. As you select a template, Word will provide a preview of how it will be formatted.

Word has a number of custom templates for your TOC. In the bottom-right corner of the figure you'll notice a area named 'Show Levels'. You can select how many levels of headings you want to include in your TOC.

Customise your TOC styles

  • Go to 'Insert' then 'Index And Tables' then 'Table Of Contents'
  • In the Formats list, select the From template option
  • Click 'Modify'
  • Select a style TOC 1 - TOC 9, and click 'Modify'. The changes you make to this style definition will only affect your headings when they appear in the TOC. These changes don't affect the way the headings will appear in your document

Managing a style's TOC level

Despite how simple it is to change the built-in styles, you're not limited to using Word's built-in headings to mark text to appear in the TOC. The attribute that determines whether and how any paragraph affect the TOC is its level.

To assign a level:

  • Go to go 'Format' then 'Style' (as you would to make a change)
  • Click on a name in the 'Styles' list, and click 'Modify'
  • Click on 'Format' and choose 'Paragraph'
  • Click the 'Indents And Spacing' tab
  • Select the appropriate level from the Outline level drop-down list. Your choices are Body Text (which doesn't affect the TOC), and levels 1 - 9

If you have any questions about our Microsoft Word Intermediate Tutorial - Table of Contents, or any of our other Tutorials, please send us an email.

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