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Learn How to Insert Microsoft Word Table of Contents in Your Documents

written by: Amanda Presley•edited by: Tricia Goss•updated: 7/28/2011

If you need to create a Table of Contents in Microsoft Word for a project you are working on, this tutorial will help you. In this tutorial, you will learn the options for inserting a table of contents and how to insert the table of contents.

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    Microsoft Word 2010

    In almost anything that anyone does, organization is important. It helps us to do a lot of things in a short amount of time. This is why the table of contents is very helpful when included in documents that you make. With Microsoft Word, creating the table of contents can be done either manually or by making use of the tabs found on the menu on the upper part of the blank document. In this tutorial, I will show you how to create Microsoft Word table of contents using version 2010

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    Making a Table of Contents Manually

    table-of-contents-1 You can make the table of contents manually by typing the entries that you want to include and then using the tab bar for spacing until you reach the other end of the page. That’s where you can put the corresponding page of the entry. You can also type dots instead to point the content to the page. You can continue to do this until you have added all of the entries for the table of contents. However, if you use this option, you will have to do everything manually when you need to update it.

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    Making a Table of Contents Automatically


    Creating a table of contents automatically is probably the fastest and easiest way to do this. To make your table of contents, you utilize the heading styles to the contents that you want included. The heading styles range from Heading 1 to Heading 9. Choose the text that you want to come out in the table of contents. Choose from among the styles available in the “Styles” group which you can find on the “Home” tab of your Word 2010 menu.

    If you can’t find the style that you wish to use, click the arrow so that the Quick Style gallery will be expanded. If you don’t find it in the Quick Style gallery, open “Apply Styles” by pressing CTRL+SHIFT+S. Then you can choose from the styles that you find under “Style Name”.

    If you want to, you can even customize your own heading styles. After you have applied the heading styles, you can pick a design and create the finished table of contents. As you make your table of contents, Microsoft Word looks for headings with the particular styles, groups them according to the heading level, positions the page numbers, and shows the table of contents in the text.

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    Making a Table of Contents from the Gallery

    When you’ve decided and marked the entries that you want to include in your table contents, you are now ready to create it. Click at the beginning of the document because that’s where you’ll be placing your table of contents. Click on the “References” tab and you will see the “Table of Contents” group. Click that and choose which among the styles available you want to use. Click on the style of your choice. If you want more specific options, go to “Insert Table of Contents” and the “Table of Contents” dialog box will open. From there, choose how you want to customize your table of contents.

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    Making a Custom Table of Contents


    Click the Table of Contents on the Reference tab then click the “Insert Table of Contents”. When you see the Table of Contents dialog box, you can then do the following steps.

    • Go to “Show levels” which is found under “General” and type in the number of heading levels you want displayed on the table of contents.
    • Choose a different format by going to the “Formats” list and you will be able to change the entire appearance of your table of contents. If you want to see how your choice will look, go to “Print Preview” or “Web Preview”.
    • Go to “Tab leader” list and with the options there you will be able to change the kind of line that will show between your entry and the corresponding page number.
    • Click “Modify” if you want to alter how the heading levels are displayed. Go to the “Style” dialog box and click on the level you’d like to change and click on “Modify”. You can change the font and its size as well as the amount of indentation in the “Modify Style” dialog box.

    If you want to utilize the custom styles for table of contents, click on “Options”. Look for the style that you applied to the headings of your document under “Available Styles”. Under the “Table of Contents level”, beside the style name, choose from 1-9 to designate the level that you want represented in the heading style.

    You can also pick a table of contents to fit the type of document. If you are going to produce a printed document, make a table of contents which has both the heading and the page number where you can find the heading. The readers can easily go to the page they want. For online documents, you can use hyperlinks for the entries in the table of contents. This way, the readers can just easily click on the entry at the table of contents page.

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    Updating the Table of Contents

    If you want to make changes in your table of contents, do so by clicking on the “Update Table” which you can find on the Table of Contents group found on the References tab. You can either “Update the page numbers only” or if you want to redo the entire thing, “Update entire table”.

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    Deleting a Table of Contents

    You can easily delete a table of contents by clicking on “Remove Table of Contents” which you can find under Table of Contents in the Table of Contents group on the References tab.

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    All screenshots were taken by the author for educational purposes only.

    Authors Own Experience