A table of contents makes navigating a document easier, so it is especially useful when writing longer scientific texts. Here’s how you add a table of contents in Microsoft Word and how to generate the necessary headings.
How to insert a table of contents in Microsoft Word
In order to add a table of contents to your Word document, you need to use proper headings. Just using a bigger, underlined or bold font won’t do it. If you don’t know how to generate the headings, scroll down on this page. Assuming you already have the right headings, here’s how you insert the table of contents:
- First, choose the place where you want the table of contents to appear and put the mouse cursor there.
- In the Word ribbon, click on the “References” tab.
- The first thing that appears on the left side is the tab “Table of Contents”. Click on it.
- Now you’ll see a little window with a list of styles. Choose a style by clicking on it.
- Your table of contents will now be generated. It will include all proper headings of your document.
How to generate headings in Word
This is how you add headings that Word will recognize as such and use to generate the table of contents:
- Select the text that you want to be marked as a heading.
- In the ribbon, click on the “Home” tab.
- In the middle part of the screen you’ll see the “Styles” gallery (examples of letters of different sizes).
- Click on the option “Heading 1” or “Heading 2”. The second one is smaller and you should use it for subchapters
How to update or remove the table of contents
After inserting a table of contents, you can still update it, add missing points or delete it.
- If you see that some points are missing from your table of contents, check the headings. You probably forgot formatting a part of the text as a heading.
- You changed something and want to update the table of contents? Click anywhere on it and then on “Update table” (if you clicked left) or “Update field” (right click). Then choose if you want to update the entire table or just the page numbers.
- To delete the table, left click on it. Where you find the option “Update table”, there’s also a little symbol of a document. Click on it. At the end of the list that appears, you’ll find the option to delete it.