Video: Introduction to Tables of Contents

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This video talks about automatic tables of contents. First, go through you document and add a heading with a heading style wherever you want a table of contents entry. Then, insert an automatic table of contents, and update it automatically whenever you make a change.

Create a table of contents

  1. First, apply heading styles – Heading 1 and Heading 2, for example – to the text that you want to include in the table of contents. Select the text, click HOME, and move the pointer over different headings in the Styles gallery. Notice as you pause over each style, your text will change so you can see how it will look in your document. Click the one that you want.

  2. Click where you want to insert the table of contents – usually near the beginning of a document.

  3. Click REFERENCES > Table of Contents and then choose an Automatic Table from the gallery of styles.

Update a table of contents

  • To update a table of contents that was created automatically from heading styles, click REFERENCES > Update Table. You can choose to Update page numbers only, or Update entire table if you want to update the page numbers and the text.

Format the text

To change the formatting of the text in the table of contents, change the style for each level in the table of contents.

  1. Click REFERENCES > Table of Contents > Custom Table of Contents.

  2. In the Table of Contents dialog box, click Modify. If the Modify button is grayed out, change Formats to From template.

  3. In the Styles list, click the level that you want to change and then click Modify.

  4. In the Modify Style dialog box, make the formatting changes that you want, and then click OK.

  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 for all the levels that you want to display in your table of contents.

Word will remember these customizations each time you update the table of contents (REFERENCES > Update Table).

Want more?

Create a table of contents

Change or add levels in a table of contents

Format or customize a table of contents

You can add a table of contents to a document by typing all the chapters and page numbers manually.

But not only is this a lot of work, you have to remember to update the table every time you make a change.

In this video, we are going to skip the manual method and focus on a much better way – Automatic Tables of Contents. Here is how that works.

First, go through the document and add a heading with a heading style wherever you want a table of contents entry.

Then, insert an automatic table of contents, and update it automatically whenever you make a change.

Let’s say we want the table of contents to point to this summary.

First type a heading. Then, on the HOME tab, open the Styles gallery.

And select the Heading 1, 2, or 3 style.

By default, any text that you apply these styles to will show up as an entry in the table of contents.

You decide how you want to use the three heading levels.

For example, you could use Heading 1 for major parts or sections, Heading 2 for chapters and Heading 3 for sub-chapters.

For this document, let’s assign Heading 1 to this heading. We can always change it later.

Continue adding styled headings throughout your document.

In this last section, let’s apply the Heading 2 style to these sub-sections.

When you’re finished, click where you want to add the table of contents. This is the easy part.

Go to the REFERENCES tab and click Table of Contents.

Then, choose which automatic table style you want, and click.

And Word instantly creates a table of contents, based on your styled headings. And it indents Headings 2 and 3.

That’s pretty convenient, but it gets better.

Let’s say you continue working on the document, and add sections, move text around, remove pages or change headings.

When it comes time to let other people see your document, all you have to do is click Update Table.

And choose whether to update just the page numbers or the entire table.

So that’s all you have to know to insert an automatic table of contents.

If you want to customize your table, click Table of Contents and Custom Table of Contents.

Look through the options and decide what you want to do.

For example, you can show more levels.

Then, click Options and change how you want to map the styles to each table of contents level.

You can also modify the table to work for print or the Web, or both.

For example, if you’re distributing the file on the Web, readers can navigate the document by clicking links instead of using page numbers.

There are more ways to customize a table of contents. To see what your options are, check out the links in the course summary.

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