How to Create a Table of Contents in Word

Format HeadingsInsert TableUpdate HeadingsRemove Headings

A table of contents is the very important elements which will help readers quickly locate the section and information. When you have a long report or thesis, you need to insert the table of contents.

Section 1: Format the Headings

If the headings in your report are not formatted, you need to check and format them.

Step 1: Select the first header and click the "Home" table from the ribbon;

Step 2: Click "Multilevel list" in the "Paragraph" area, and select one of the list you prefer;

Step 3: You will see there is "Chapter 1" is automatically added to the first header. Depending on the list style you selected, there will be different words or numbers;

Step 4: If you do not like this extra words to add your report, you can change the first header to "Heading 2" by clicking the headings in the style section;

Step 5: You may need to format the Header such as the font size, the font color, and the spacing after the header. After please click on "Heading 2" and select "Update Heading 2 to Match Selection". This will allow all other following headers have the same formatting;

Step 6: Select the next Header at the same level, and click "Heading 2", the header will automatically have the same style as the first one.

Step 7: Select the next level of headers, and click "Heading 3" from the style section, and repeat to finish all headings; then next select next level of headers for "Heading 4" till all headers are checked and formatted;

Step 8: Click the "View" tab from the ribbon, and click "Navigation" till you see all the headings in the "Navigation Panel".

Section 2: Insert Table of Content

If you see the headings in the navigation panel, it is the time to insert the table of contents.

Step 9: Move the cursor to the beginning of the report and click the "References" tab from the ribbon;

Step 10: Click "Table of Contents" and select one style you want;

Step 11: You will see the table of contents on the top of the report. You can bring all the contents to the next page by moving the cursor to the end of the table of contents, and pressing "Ctrl+Enter" to leave the table of contents on the first page.

Section 3: Update Table of Contents

In case you change the headings, either the wording or the structure, you can always update the changes in the table of contents.

Step 12: Click the table of contents and you will see the update bar on the top;

Step 13: Click on "Update table", and select "Update entire table";

Step 14: Click "OK" and the table will reflect the changes you made in the report.

Section 4: Remove Table of Contents

In case you do not need the table of contents, you can always remove them from the report.

Step 15: Click the "References" tab from the ribbon, and click the "Table of Contents", then select "Remove Table of Contents" from the drop-down list.

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