Archive for tag: Microsoft Word

Word Table of Contents from Headings

We often find people struggling with the creation of a Contents list in Microsoft Word. This is actually a very simple task, but it does require an understanding of formatting.

Word uses a concept of 'Styles' in a document, included in which are the predefined settings for Headings. This web page you are reading has these styles too; that is how the page is broken into sections. The underlined green heading in each section is 'Heading 2'.

In Word it is important to use these heading styles for the section headings in the document. All too often users will insert the text for a heading and just mark it as bold/underlined thinking this makes it a heading. It doesn't, it just marks the text. Word requires Headings to create a Table of Contents from.

There can be multiple heading levels in a document. You may have section headings and sub-section headings. You will no doubt have seen contents lists which show items at various levels; these are linked to this type of heading. Here is an example:

Where To Start....................1
  Starter Details.................2
  More Information................3
Getting The Right Data............4


If a document uses Heading 1 and Heading 2 for these sections then the built-in command to Generate Table of Contents which is available from the menu (or ribbon in 2007/2010 versions) will create one which looks like that above.

Here are some of the benefits of using this method:

  1. As you edit the document the page numbers in the contents update automatically
  2. Adding new sections (with headings) will add them to the contents
  3. If you PDF the document, the Contents list can be used to navigate the document.

This is all too good to miss!


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