How to Create A Table of Contents in Word [Full Guide]

Updated by Dave on Nov 10, 2022
  | Computer Instruction

Long documents or detailed papers need a table of contents. It helps them look sophisticated and offers ebook-like navigation to onscreen documents. The long documents and the daily journal or other simple documents may compel the need to create a table of contents in word.

Let us understand how to create a table of contents in word. We'll go through the detailed steps to create a table of contents in word to make it easy for beginners to offer a key organizational aid for the readers. It will make the document easy to read, edit, and manage. Let us go through the detailed steps for the same.

create table in word

Steps to create a table of contents in word

If you think creating a table of contents in the word is for quick navigation through long documents, think again. Before jumping to the key steps to creating a table of contents in your document, knowing the best benefits of the table of contents in word is necessary.

Benefits of creating a table of contents in word

  • It offers a well-ordered series of steps to give the learning path to the readers.
  • The table of contents in word makes it easy to discuss the documents easily. It allows users to have a quick look at the paper and understand its contents.
  • It works as the first draft for the author and helps in brainstorming the clear word file idea.
  • It helps the document look highly professional and organized.
  • The table of contents in the word is the perfect outline of the document allowing the flow of the document to readers.

Steps to create a table of contents in a word:

After learning about the quick benefits of creating the table of contents in word, the following are the quick steps for the same:

Step 1. Assign a style sheet to all headings

The style sheet for all headings gives professional text formatting to different document parts. Further, these can add a hidden layer of the company and structure to the document. Inserting the table of contents creates a section for all headings.

All you need to do is select the format, and choose the required heading in the Styles group on the Home tab.

assigning a style sheet to all headings

Step 2. Insert a table of contents

The second step is to insert the table of contents in word. All you need to do is go to the "References" tab on the ribbon and go to "Table of Contents." You can select a built-in table from the menu, and the same will be inserted into your document. The available options make it easy to go for a table of contents format based on document needs.

inserting table of contents in doc

It can create links for different sections and allows quick navigation to different document parts. All you need to do is press the "Ctrl" key to go to any section.

navigating different document parts

Step 3. Format table of contents  

You may need to format the table of contents in word to optimize it for your document. The different steps are used to format table of contents in Windows, macOS, and Office 2010.

For Windows: All you need to do is go to the "References" option, select "Table of Contents," and press on "Custom table of contents" option.

For Mac: Mac users can repeat the process as explained for Windows users. You can go to the "References" option, select "Table of Contents," and press on "Custom table of contents" option.

For Office 2010: Go to the "References" option, select "Table of Contents," and press on "Insert table of contents" option. The customization will be applied and it is easy for users to align, show, or hide page numbers, etc.

Step 4. Update table of contents

The last step to create a table of contents in word is to update the table if required. All you need to do is select the table of contents and press the "Update Table" option, and then press "Update Entire Table." The table of contents will showcase the changes.

updating the table of contents

Conclusion

Hope it is easy to create a table of contents in a word for beginners and professionals. All you need to do is assign a style sheet to all headings and insert the table of contents. Then, it is easy to format and update the table based on the requirements.

Hence, no need to look for help when you've learnt how to create a table of contents in word with the detailed steps mentioned above. Even beginners can create professional academic papers or big reports by creating a table of contents. It is easy to organize and navigate the document using a table of contents.

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