Video: Advanced tables of contents

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The best place to start is with a custom style. By default, Word builds TOCs from text formatted with built-in heading styles. But you can also tell Word to look for other styles, including ones that you create.

Map a custom style to a TOC level

Let’s say we want to add brief descriptions under each heading entry. To do that, we’ll use a custom style.

  1. Select the text that we want to appear in the Table of Contents. The text is now formatted as Normal with the rest of the paragraph.

  2. Open Styles gallery > Create a Style > OK.

  3. Click ahead of the Table of Contents. Then, open the Table of Contents gallery, and click Custom Table of Contents > Options.

  4. The first three Heading Styles are mapped to the first three TOC levels. Scroll down to the new style, and map it to level 4, and click OK.

  5. The preview now shows the new style under Heading 3. Click OK > Yes to replace the current table.

Want more?

Introduction to tables of contents (TOCs)

Format or customize a table of contents

Take tables of contents (TOCs) to the next level

Field codes in Word

In this course, we are going to use some advanced techniques to create a custom tables of contents, or TOC.

If you want a simple, easy-to-manage TOC, then view Introduction to Tables of Contents to see how to create a basic automatic TOC.

Word creates a Table of Contents from the headings in your document, and you can update it automatically, whenever you make a change. You can find a link to it in the course summary.

Watch Take tables of contents to the next level to see how to control the look of your table of contents by adding your own options and formatting.

There is a link to it in the course summary as well.

But in this course, we are going to go even further and create the ultimate custom automatic TOC, in which you have the complete control over the contents.

And the best place to start is with a custom style. Here’s how that works.

By default, Word builds a Table of Contents from the text that has been formatted with a built-in Heading Style.

But you can also tell Word to look for other styles, including ones that you create.

In this document, let’s say we want to add brief descriptions, like this, under each heading entry.

To do that, we’ll use a custom style.

In this section, let’s select the text that we want to appear in the Table of Contents.

As you can see, the text is now formatted as Normal with the rest of the paragraph.

Open the Styles gallery and click Create a Style. We’ll call our new style 'Summary'.

We could click here and Modify... the formatting, but we won’t because we want it to look just like the rest of the paragraph.

So, click OK.

Now, all the text looks the same, but when you click in the paragraph, you see that it actually contains two styles.

So, now we need to tell Word to include our new style.

Click ahead of the Table of Contents.

Then, open the Table of Contents gallery, and click Custom Table of Contents..., and Options....

The first three Heading Styles are mapped to the first three TOC levels.

Scroll down to the new style, and map it to level 4, and click OK.

The preview now shows the new style under Heading 3. Click OK and Yes to replace the current table.

The summary text is added. The only thing left to do is format it to look like a summary.

Select the text in the Table of Contents.

Open the Styles pane and scroll down to the TOC Styles. When we added the text, we mapped it to TOC 4.

So that means it is formatted with the TOC 4 Style. Click the arrow next to TOC 4 and click Modify....

Click Format, and Paragraph, and indent the Left and Right margins 1.5 inches, and click OK. Let’s also add Italics, and click OK.

Mapping custom styles to a TOC level is a pretty quick and easy way to control what appears in a Table of Contents.

But if you want the ultimate control, stick around. Up next, we’ll take on field codes.

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