If you are a researcher, document writer, or author or you have to prepare a proposal for an upcoming project meeting with a client or a report for project completion, you must create a contents table. It is the one-stop location in your document where your readers will be able to know what they are getting. So here is a step-to-step guide for creating a table of contents in word.
Step 1- Prepare the Document with Headings and Subheadings.
The table of content can be created only if you have used the headings and sub-headings in your document. So, the first step will be that before you start writing a document is to identify and list down the levels of headings for your data and the text titles that will make the headings.
Figure 1 Heading Option in the Tool bar
If you have a document that is already completed, you still can add a table of contents. Just scan through the document and apply the appropriate heading style from the tool bar shown in figure 1. To create a heading, follow these steps
- Select the text to create the heading or place cursor in the anywhere in the text line
- Click on the heading style you want for the text.
If you are not able to find your needed heading styles in the toolbar, do this
- Click on the encircled arrow button from the tool bar displaying the heading styles as shown in figure 2.
Figure 2 Open More Headings Style
- You will get a drop-down as shown in figure 3. From this, you have to select “Apply Styles”
Figure 3 Select Apply Styles option
- On selecting this option you get the list of all the available styles that can be applied on different sections of your document
Figure 4 Select a Style from the options given.
- As a final step select the appropriate style of heading to be applied and see the changes in your document.
Step 2 Create the Table of Contents
Once your document is ready with all the levels of headings and subheadings, you are ready to create the table of contents. Follow these steps
- Click the ‘References’ menu from the menu bar
- Place the cursor before your content and then click on the ‘Table of Contents’ option as shown in Figure 5
Figure 5 Reference Menu Bar showing Table of Contents option
- Select the style of table of content from the available options.
Figure 6 Built-in styles of Table of Contents
This is what you will get
Figure 7 Newly created Table of Contents
So you have created a table of content in your document by following these easy-to-follow steps.
Updating an existing Table of Contents
Once you create a table of contents you can update it to reflect the latest changes in your document. Follow these steps.
- Place the cursor on the table of contents that have already been created and right-click. You will get a context menu as shown in figure 8. Select Update Field
Figure 8 Update the Table of Contents
You will get this message box shown in figure 9.
Figure 9 Update Table of Contents Message Box.
You can either update the page numbers if the headings have not been altered since the last change or update the entire table if you have added a new heading in your document. In this exercise, I selected ‘Update entire table’ and got this updated table of contents.
Figure 10 The final Table of Contents after the update
You have learned how to create and update a Table of Contents in a word document. For further queries use the comments section.