(Legacy) Microsoft Word 2007: Generating a Table of Contents

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Note: This article is based on legacy software.

A table of contents helps readers navigate the basic structure of a document. To simplify your document production process, Word automates the generation of a table of contents. This feature allows you to easily and efficiently generate and update a table of contents. After you have finished creating your table of contents, you can make formatting changes (e.g., text size, color) to the table of contents as you would to ordinary text. For more information on formatting text, refer to Working with Text Options.

Preparing for a Table of Contents

Before Word creates the table of contents, you must decide which material will be included and how it will appear. To indicate which elements should be included, you should designate each element using either the headings or the paragraph settings option.

Word allows you to designate not only which elements will be included in the table of contents, but also the way they are arranged. For example, a page title might be labeled Heading 1 (a larger and bolder text style) while the subtopics that below it might be labeled Heading 2. Once the table of contents is generated, these heading and style designations will be reflected.

For additional information on styles, refer to Using Word Styles.

Preparing for a Table of Contents: Using Heading Styles

  1. Place your insertion point within the item to be included in the table of contents

  2. From the Home tab, in the Style section, select the desired heading 
    NOTE: To show more style and heading options, click the arrow in the Style list

  3. Repeat steps 1–2 as necessary for each item to be included in the table of contents

Preparing for a Table of Contents: Using Paragraph Settings

  1. Place your insertion point within the item to be included in the table of contents

  2. To display the Paragraph dialog box, from the Home tab, in the Paragraph group, click paragraph
    The Paragraph dialog box appears.

  3. Select the Indents and Spacing tab

  4. From the Outline level pull-down list, select the appropriate level
    NOTE: By default, levels 1, 2, and 3 are included in the table of contents

  5. Click OK

  6. Repeat steps 1–5 as necessary for each item to be included in the table of contents

Inserting a Table of Contents

After you have prepared a document, you can insert a table of contents. To add a table of contents to a document, use the following instructions.

  1. Place your insertion point where the table of contents should appear

  2. From the Ribbon, select the References tab

  3. In the Table of Contents group, click TABLE OF CONTENTS table of contents
    The Table of Contents menu appears.

  4. From the Table of Contents menu, select Insert Table of Contents... 
    The Table of Contents dialog box appears. 
    table of contents

  5. If your table of contents is based on Outline levels, in the General section, in the Show levels text box, select the appropriate number of levels to include in the table of contents

  6. If your table of contents is based on styles,
    1. Click OPTIONS...
      The Table of Contents Options dialog box appears with the available styles listed on the left, and the corresponding table of contents levels on the right. 
      table of contents options
    2. To include a heading in the table of contents, in the TOC level text box for the appropriate style, type the table of contents level at which the style should be included
    3. Click OK

  7. (Optional) To change the formatting of a level within the table of contents when using the From template format,
    1. Click MODIFY...
      The Style dialog box appears.
    2. From the Styles scroll list, select the level that you want to modify
    3. Click MODIFY...
      The Modify Style dialog box appears.
    4. Make the desired formatting changes
    5. Select Automatically update
    6. Click OK
      You are returned to the Style dialog box.
    7. To make additional changes to other levels, repeat steps b–f
    8. Click OK
      You are returned to the Table of Contents dialog box.

  8. Click OK
    The table of contents is generated and appears in your document.

Updating a Table of Contents

If you change the page numbers or headings in a document containing a table of contents, you have the option of updating the table of contents to reflect those changes.

  1. From the References tab, in the Table of Contents group, click UPDATE TABLE update table
    The Update Table of Contents dialog box appears.

  2. If only page numbers have changed in the document, select Update page numbers only
    If headings have changed, select Update entire table

  3. Click OK