How to add or modify a table of contents in Microsoft Word

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A table of contents informs readers about the substance of a document and where they may find it.
In Microsoft Word, a table of contents can also allow a reader to jump to a certain section of a document by clicking a heading.
Follow the steps below to add or update a table of contents in your Word document.

Add a new table of contents

  1. Select a page in the document where the table of contents should be added.
  2. In the Ribbon, select the References tab.
  3. Click the Table of Contents option in the Table of Contents section.
  4. Select one of the various table of contents layouts in the dialog box or pop-up window to automatically insert it on the current page of the document.

Select the Custom Table of Contents option in step 4 if you want to include a custom table of contents.

Update the table of contents

  1. Find the document’s table of contents, then click it.
  2. Use the pop-up menu that appears when you right-click the table of contents and click on Update Field.
  3. Click the Ok button after selecting the Update entire table in the Update Table of Contents window.

Format a table of contents

A table of contents can be formatted automatically or by individually formatting each entry in the table.

Automatically format

You can edit the formatting after creating a table of contents to ensure that subsequent updates mirror it.

  1. On the Ribbon, select the References tab.
  2. Select the Table of Contents option under the Table of Contents section.
  3. Choose the Custom Table of Contents option in the dialog box or pop-down window, which is near the bottom.
  4. Click the Modify button located in the bottom-right corner of the Table of Contents window.
  5. Click the Modify button after selecting one of the tables of content styles in the Styles window.
  6. In the Modify Style window, click the Format button in the bottom-left corner, then choose the option you want to change.
    For instance, you can choose Font and change the font’s type, size, and color, as well as set it to bold or italic.
  7. Click OK in each of the open windows to save the changes after making the desired adjustments to the table of contents style you chose.

Now, the formatting choices you set are automatically used when updating the entire table of contents.

Manually format

You may manually change the font size, text color, bold, italic, and other formatting options for numbers and text after generating a table of contents.

  1. Choose the text you wish to format from the table of contents.
  2. Choose a different font style, size, or color, or click the bold or italic buttons on the Home tab of the Ribbon.
    Changes are made to all of the chosen text.

If desired, you may choose and format each line in the table contents separately using the methods described above.

Any manual formatting adjustments you make to the table of contents are lost if you choose to update all of the table’s entries at a later time using the Update full table option.

Update an existing table of contents with new entries

Automatically add a new entry

Adding extra material with headers to the page is the best technique to add entries to a table of contents.

  1. Using the header choices in the Styles section of the Home tab in the Ribbon, add one or more headings to the page.
  2. Submit content beneath each new heading.
  3. To automatically add the new heading items, follow the instructions in the section above on how to update an existing table of contents.

Add new entries manually

You may manually add items to the table of contents if you’d prefer.

  1. If it hasn’t already been done, add new content to the document.
  2. Choose the location in the current table of contents where you wish to add an entry.
    Next, position the text cursor where you want the new entry to go, above where you want the new entry.
  3. To add a fresh blank line to the table of contents, use the Enter key.
  4. The new entry’s text should be typed.
  5. For the new table of contents item, provide the page number in the document where the new content is present.
  6. Place the text cursor, on the left of the page number.
    Type the letter or symbol that separates the entry text from the page number many times, moving it to the right.
    The page number needs to match the other entries’ page numbers in the table of contents.