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This guide will help you create a table of contents using Microsoft Word (MsWord). Microsoft Word makes it possible to create, insert, organize and navigate a table of contents in a Word document.

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Introduction

This guide will help you create a table of contents using Microsoft Word (MsWord). Microsoft Word makes it possible to create, insert, organize and navigate a table of contents in a Word document.

A Table of Contents is just like the list of chapters at the beginning of a book, dissertation, thesis, report etc. It lists each section in the document and the page number where that section begins. A basic typical table of contents looks like below:

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A table of contents could be created manually by typing the section names and page numbers. However, this would take a long time and a lot of work. Also, if one would decide to rearrange or add some sections or more information, it will be necessary to update everything all over again. Word can however create and update a table of contents automatically with the right formatting,

Word 2013 will be used in showing how to create a table of contents, however the exact same method can be used in both Word 2007 and 2010.

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Application of Heading Styles

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Step 1: Application of Heading Styles

Application of a heading style means that a new part of Word document has been started. When the table of contents has been inserted, it will create a section for each heading. In the table of contents above, each chapter uses a heading style, so there are four sections.

To apply a heading style, select the text you want to format, then the desired heading in the Styles group on the Home tab choose the heading style that you want to apply in the document as shown below:

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Insert the table of contents

Step 2: Insert the table of contents

Once the heading styles have been applied, the table of contents will be inserted in just a few clicks. Navigate to the References tab on the Ribbon, then click the Table of Contents command. Select a built-in table from the menu that appears, and the table of contents will appear in the document.

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As the image below shows, the table of contents uses the heading styles in the document to determine where each section begins. Sections that begin with a Heading 2 or Heading 3 style will be nested within a Heading 1 style, much like a multilevel list.

Selecting a Multilevel List

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Multilevel Headings

 

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A table of contents also creates links for each section giving allowance for navigation to different parts of the document. It takes just holding the Ctrl key on the keyboard and clicking go to any section.

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Updating the Table of Contents

Step 3: Updating the Table of Contents

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It is easy to update the table of contents whenever any updates or additions are made. Updates are made by Just selecting the table of contents, clicking Update Table, and Update Entire Table in the appearing dialog box. The table of contents will then update to reflect any changes.