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Word top tip: Table of contents

Word top tip: Table of contents

Table of contents are so useful on larger documents and are actually quite straight forward to create without having to manually update pages and titles as you make changes.

There are a few steps you need to follow on each document to get this working for you, however once you’ve done them a few times it will become second nature.

We discussed styles earlier in our tips list – these are central to the table of contents.

If you follow a set structure for the headings of each part of your document your table of contents will be formatted correctly.

Using a heading style to format section headings and subsection headings determines your table of contents. You obviously can have no subsections if the document doesn’t require them.


If you use the heading styles appropriately you can then easily add a Table of contents to the front of your document that links directly to these headings. You can choose to display the contents in different ways and even choose the level of headings you want to show.

Once you’ve drafted the document you can goto the location you want to add the table of contents (usually at the top of page2).

Select References > table of contents and select which style of contents you prefer.

You will see your table of contents appear exactly how you configured the headings.

If you want a slightly more customised content list then choose custom and edit as you need.

Now you can go back and make changes to your document, change headings, add extra text, add sections and remove sections, but you need to tell WORD to change your contents list each time you make changes.

You can either select any part of the table of contents or click the option to update table, or you can go back to references tab and choose update table.


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