Creating a table of contents in Microsoft Office Word

The thought of writing a manual table of content is seriously unbearable. Think about how many times you’ll have to update it every time you make a correction, adjusting pages, adding content etc. What if it’s a 200 page thesis? Worry not. You’re about to master the art of  automatic table.

I will be using word 2013 for illustration but the procedure is pretty much the same. Lets get started already.

Assuming you already have your document, proofread and neat.

Highlight the content or line you want to appear on the table of contents as shown below and click on HOME Tab.Changing styles

on the Home tab, under Styles section you are able to see Heading 1, Heading 2, Normal etc. Assuming Chapters are sections in your document, For the first item on the section select heading 1. all categories falling under this will be set to heading 2 and all the categories under heading 2 set to heading 3 iteratively until the next section is reached and you start at heading 1 again as shown below.

NOTE: Every style has its own custom formatting like font size, type and color. but don’t be worried about this, you can adjust this later automatically to the entire document.

CHAPTER ONE ………………………………………………………………….HEADING 1

1.0 Introduction ……………………………………………………………….HEADING 2

1.1 Problem statement  ……………………………………………………HEADING 2

1.2 Objectives  ………………………………………………………………….HEADING 2

1.2.1 Main objective ………………………………………………………..HEADING 3

1.2.2 Specific objectives…………………………………………………..HEADING 3

CHAPTER TWO…………………………………………………………………HEADING 1

2.0 ……………………………………………………………………………………..HEADING 2

2.0.1…………………………………………………………………………………..HEADING 3

 

once you are done with the entire document, place the cursor where you want the table of content to be.

click REFERENCES, Select table of contents and Select Automatic Table One

You should be able to see your table of contents neat and updated with the current page numbers of every item.

To adjust the styles formatting/settings

you can do either do one of the two

  1. press Ctrl+A to highlight the entire document.
  2. set your new formatting that will apply for entire document

or

  1. Point your cursor at the heading you want to edit, right click abd select modify
  2. Under Formatting select your preferred settings and remember to check the “Update automatically” at the bottom of the dialog.
  3. Click OK to apply the settings.

For all changes you make to your document all you have to do is click on the table of content, right click and select Update Field

Select either Update page numbers only or update entire table

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