How to Make a Table of Contents in Word
If you are writing a thesis or dissertation, creating a table of contents (TOC) is an important part of the process. A well-crafted TOC can help your readers navigate through the document and find what they need without skipping over any sections. You can make an automatic table of contents in Word that automatically updates as you write your text, or you can create a table of contents manually using styles and table of contents field markers.
To make a table of contents in Word, first make sure you have applied heading styles to all the chapter and sub-chapter headings you want to include in the TOC. Next, go to the References menu, select “Table of Contents,” and choose a template option that works for your needs.
The default template is a simple table with page numbers on one line and a table of contents on the other. If you want a more elegant, professional-looking TOC, select “Custom” and customize the settings for showing, hiding, and aligning page numbers, adding or changing a tab leader, and setting formats.
You can also change the way the TOC displays its pages and how many levels it shows by adjusting the settings in the TOC options dialog box. These options let you choose whether to show all of the headings in your document or only the main headings, and whether to display dotted or numbered lines connecting each entry in the TOC to its page number.
In addition, the TOC options dialog box has options for showing hyperlinks instead of page numbers – an important choice where documents are more commonly read on screen than in print. These hyperlinks work with PDF exports and can be used as clickable links that lead to specific parts of the document.
Once you have configured your TOC, it is easy to refresh the table if you need to make any changes. If you are creating a new chapter or sub-chapter, insert a Table of Contents field and assign it a heading style. This way, when you make a change to the chapter or sub-chapter, your TOC will update with that change instantly.
A manual table of contents is also a good option for bookmarked areas in a document. This method is more complicated than inserting an auto table of contents, but it will save you time.
If you are a student, this process will also help you keep your table of contents up-to-date as you write the document. If you have a chapter or sub-chapter that has multiple entries, select the headings and assign them Heading 2. This will create a table of contents with sub-sections for each chapter and sub-chapter.
When you have a table of contents that you are happy with, you can use the Modify button to edit the formatting. This is a mini version of the standard Modify Styles dialog that allows you to adjust the appearance of the entire TOC.
When you have finished editing, select OK to save your modifications. You can also select Cancel to return to your original settings. You can also choose to save the modifications as a new template to avoid having to re-create the TOC each time you update your document.