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Create a table of contents with Word: Here’s how


With Microsoft Word you can quickly create a table of contents for your text. With perfect formatting. The table of contents even accepts changes in the text. Table of Contents With Word – How To Create It!

Word automatically creates a table of contents for you – this works with older Word versions as well as with Word from the current Office 365

and also with the future Microsoft 365.
This not only saves you a lot of time, but also prevents mistakes, mix-ups, omissions and mixed-up numbering. We’ll show you how you can have Word create a table of contents in four steps and keep it up to date:

  1. Assign a style to all headings

  2. Insert table of contents

  3. Format table of contents

  4. Update table of contents

1. Assign a style to all headings

First write your text with the headings above the respective chapters. Then click on “Start” in the menu bar in Word and then enlarge the template menu by clicking on the tiny expand icon at the top right.

Click the tiny icon in the top right. From the menu that then opens, only

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Click the tiny icon in the top right. From the menu that then opens, only “Heading 1” etc. are relevant for you.

Now mark your headings and select the desired format template. Use the “Heading 1” style for the highest heading, “Heading 2” for the level below, and so on. First of all, Word only offers you “Heading 1” and “Heading 2” to choose from, but as soon as you have selected “Heading 2” once, Word shows the next lower heading, ie “Heading 3” and so on. Word displays detailed information for each format template when you mouse-over.

In our example we are using headings 1 to 4.

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In our example we are using headings 1 to 4.

2. Insert table of contents

Now we continue with the insertion of the table of contents. Place the cursor where you want to insert the table of contents – this should typically be at the beginning of your file. Then go to the “References” tab in the Word 2016 menu bar (in Word 2013 the tab is still called “References” as on our screenshots) and there on the entry on the far left: “Table of Contents”.

For Word 2013, go to

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For Word 2013, go to “References” as in our example.

Select the “automatic table” that suits you. This will insert a table of contents into your Word file, the bullet points of which will be created automatically.

In no time at all, the automatically generated table of contents is located in the Word file at the top.

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In no time at all, the automatically generated table of contents is located in the Word file at the top.

3. Format the table of contents

Now it’s time to format the table of contents. Go back to the “References” tab (Word 2013: “References”) and “Table of Contents” and then a little further down on “User-defined table of contents”.

Here you format the table of contents

In the window that then appears, you can make various settings, such as whether or not page numbers should be displayed. In the “Page view” at the top left of this window you can always see the effects of your settings immediately.

You can also change the font size and font using the “Formats” item. Apply the changes with “Ok”.

This is where you bring the table of contents into shape

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This is where you bring the table of contents into shape

4. Update the table of contents

If you change your text with the headings it contains, this is no problem for the table of contents. Because it updates itself with. To do this, click again on “References” and then on “Update table of contents”. In the pop-up that then opens, you can choose whether you want to update only the page numbers or the entire table of contents. Select what you want and click “OK”.

We have added another chapter on Samsung Darth Vader to our text. We have now added these to the table of contents above.

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We have added another chapter on Samsung Darth Vader to our text. We have now added these to the table of contents above.

Alternatively, you can place the cursor on the already existing table of contents, click with the right mouse button and select “Update fields” from the menu that appears (alternative formulation: “Update field”). This also updates the table of contents.

Tip:

Microsoft has

here
published a concise guide to creating tables of contents with Word.

Microsoft Word: Practical tips for everyday life

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