Word - Automatic Table of Contents

Automatic Table of Contents

Word has a feature that allows users to automatically generate an automatic table of contents, assuming that heading styles have been used. This table of contents supports different levels of indentation to highlight chapters and sub-chapters of the document itself. 

Inserting an automatic table of contents

In the references tab of the ribbon the button to add a table of contents found on the left, there are three options. Select 'Automatic Table 1' from the list:  Illustrative image

This will add the table of contents into the document where the blinking text cursor is, it will also pop up a message to warn you that you'll need to apply a heading style for it to feature in the table of contents:  Illustrative image

Tagging items you wish to feature in the automatic table of contents with heading styles

Using styles is covered on the styles help page in more depth. To tag a line of text so that it appears in the table of contents, we must mark it as a heading style, these can be found in the ribbon under the home tab. Click and drag around text before clicking the style you want. This will update it as this style: Illustrative image

Once the styles have been applied to the text you wish to appear in the table of contents, you should notice that the table of contents is still empty. This is because it must be updated in order to display anything that's been tagged. To refresh/update the contents table, first, left-click into it. An update table button should appear at the top. If you cannot see this, right-click anywhere on the table of contents to find the same option although this is marked as update field instead of table:  Illustrative image

If you have done this before you may be asked if you wish to update the page numbers or the entire table. It's recommended you should also select entire table as this will make sure everything is correct and not just the page numbers:  Illustrative image

Once the table has been updated, any text that's been tagged as a heading style should appear in this table alongside its page number and with the level of indentation specified by the heading number: 



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