How To Make Table of Contents in MS Word

In order to make a table of content for your document, it is important that the document has text in it which can be used to make headings for the table of content. And empty document cannot be used to make a table of content. So for this, I have used a piece of my writing to make an example for you and to help you understand how you can make a table of content and how you can modify at any step of your work.

  1. Open you word document and write down your assignment as you like it.
    Writing down your work on a word document
  2. Now to make your assignment good and up to the mark, headings are recommended. And to make the headings prominent and to your table of content, you need to have headings in your file.You need to select one heading at a time, and then go to the options right on the top of this page where you can see ‘Heading 1’, ‘Heading 2’, ‘Title’, and ‘Subtitle’. These are basically options for you to arrange your headings and titles.
  3. When you select a heading in your document with the help of your cursor, you will now format these by selecting heading 1 or heading 2. You will choose ‘heading 2’ for subheadings basically. So the ones which are supposed to be before the subheading, will be in the formatting of ‘heading 1’.
    select a heading
    select a heading style
  4. After clicking the option for heading 1 or 2, the text that you had selected in your document will be changed according to that format.
    The text will change accordingly
    the selected text will change accordingly

    If you want to change the color or the text of these headings, you can modify it by clicking the right cursor on the options ‘heading 1’ or ‘heading 2’.

    modify formatting of the headings

    You will be directed to this window which will give you various options to modify.

    options for modifying

    After modifying the headings, this is how your headings will appear now.

    modified headings
  5. Once you have written it all down, edited the headings and have modified it according to your requirement, you must now locate the ‘Reference’ tab on the tool bar right on the top of your word document.
    Reference Tab
  6. When you press ‘Reference’, you will find a tab for ‘Table of Contents ‘ on your left.
    Table of Contents will be under ‘Reference’ tab
  7. Clicking on ‘Table of Contents’ will present you some more options of how you would want your table of content to look like. You can either click on any one of the three choices that are given directly from here.Or, you can press the option for Insert Table of Contents.
    Inserting Table of Content in two ways

    Once you have selected the style of your Table of contents, this is how your Table of Contents will appear.

    Table of Contents, you can change the style again as well
  8. Now once the table of contents has been created, you can still edit it. But the editing will not be made on the Table of contents, but will be made in your document, where you need to make the alterations, with in the text.
    For instance, where I had written ‘What is the difference between tbt and fbf, I want to replace the world fbf with the full form, that is, flash back Friday.

    editing text with in the file and NOT the table of contents directly.

    Now this editing will not automatically get updated on the table of contents that we had already generated. After editing the heading in the document, we will go back on top of the page where the table of content is. Now when we click on the table of content, we will see these options on the left corner of the table of contents box. Where the first option is to change the formatting style of the table of contents, and the second one is to update the table of contents.

    Editing options for Table of Contents (TOC)
  9. You will click on the ‘Update Table…’ option. This will open another dialogue box.
    Update for page numbers or edit the whole Table of Contents

    If you made minor additions in the document, and not the headings, this will only change the page numbers then. So if that is the case, you will only select the first option here.However, if you had made major changes in the headings, subheadings and titles, you will select the second option, which says ‘update entire table’.And press OK.

  10. Pressing OK would update the table with the changes you made appearing in the table of contents.
    Your Table of Contents has been updated.

    If you want to change the style of your Table of Contents, you can click on the first option which appears after clicking the Table of contents that appear on your document.

Habiba Rehman
Major love for reading, but writing is what keeps me going. Dream to publish my own novels someday.