Creating Table of Contents with Ease Using Microsoft Word

Creating Table of Contents with Ease Using Microsoft Word

If you are working on multiple documents then ‘Table of Contents’ will add a lot of value. It mentions the main topics covered in the document. It also guides to the right page for specific information. This section of any document whether it’s an academic report, business proposal, or a book, has a particular format. Learning the right format for writing a table of contents for different types of documents can be helpful.

Steps to follow

You must have your content ready and in order, before you start creating the table of contents. You can create it both manually and automatically using the ‘Table of Contents’ option in Word. These are the steps to follow.

Doing it manually

You can create a table for the table of contents manually by choosing the Insert -> Table option. You can type the headings and subheadings along with page numbers. You can apply the heading styles to the titles, headings, and sub-headings. You can change the font, color, and other things. However, it take a lot of time to do it manually.

Using the Auto ‘table of content’ option

Using the Auto table of contents in Word is a time-saver, especially if your document is large. With only a few clicks and updates you can create the table of contents.

Give headings to the content

You should first put appropriate headings in your document before you start creating the table of contents in Word. That way Word can automatically add these sections to the table of contents. Make sure that you highlight your titles with the various styles in the ‘Home’ tab. The headings and sub-headings must be in order and you can use ‘heading 1’, ‘heading 2’, etc. as styles to clarify which sub-heading is positioned in which place.

Create the table of contents

You should click on the ‘References’ tab and then select ‘Table of Contents’ on the top-left corner of your page. You will notice that several templates for the table of contents appear. Choose one according to your preference.

table of content

Edit the sections

You can edit the sections you think are not relevant. In such cases go back to your content and change the style of the particular content from a heading style to a paragraph format. That part will now disappear from the table of contents. You can select the ‘Custom Table of Contents’ option to adjust the position and alignment of the text. After you have made all the changes you need to click ‘Update Table’, followed by ‘Update Entire Table’ to lock everything.


Having a proper table of contents aids the reader in going through documents comfortably. You must have a plan on how to order the contents for easy readability. MS Word has made it very convenient to create this table of contents with its auto feature. You can now avoid the hassle of creating it from scratch.


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