If you are a document writer, this article will be very useful for you. You will learn how lớn insert a table of contents into your document, modify and update it just in a few clicks. Also, I"ll show you how to lớn make your document look good using Word"s built-in heading styles and the multilevel danh sách option.

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I am sure that everyone who reads this article right now had to deal with a really long document in Microsoft Word at least once in their lives. It could be an academic paper or a lengthy report. Depending on the project, it might be dozens or even hundreds of pages long! When you have such a big document with chapters & subchapters it turns out to lớn be very hard to lớn navigate in the document searching for necessary information. Luckily, Word allows you lớn create a table of contents, making it easy khổng lồ refer to the relevant sections of your document, và therefore it is a must-do task for document writers.

You could create a table of contents manually, but it would be a real waste of time. Let Word do it automatically for you!

In this post I will show you how khổng lồ create a table of contents in Word in an automatic way and also how lớn update it just in a few clicks. I"ll use Word 2013, but you can use exactly the same method in Word 2010 or Word 2007.

Make your document look good

Make your document look good

Heading Styles

The key to creating a quick & easy contents page is to use Word"s built-in heading styles (Heading 1, Heading 2, etc.) for the titles (chapters) & subtitles (subchapters) of your document. Don"t worry if you haven"t used them yet, I will show you how it works with regular text.

Highlight the title or the text you want khổng lồ be the title of your first main sectionGo to the HOME tab in the RibbonSearch for the Styles groupChoose Heading 1 from the group


So now you have assigned the first main section of your document. Keep it up! Go on scrolling through the text & selecting the primary section titles. Apply the "Heading 1" style khổng lồ these titles. They will appear in your table of contents as the main section titles.

Next, define the secondary sections within each primary chapter, and apply the "Heading 2" style to the subtitles of these sections.


If you want to place emphasis on some paragraphs within the secondary sections, then you can select the titles for them & apply the "Heading 3" style khổng lồ these titles. You can also take advantage of the "Heading 4-9" styles for creating additional heading levels.

Multilevel Listing

I want my table of contents to be more presentable, so I am going to add a numbering scheme lớn the titles và subtitles of my document.

Highlight the first main title.Find the Paragraph group on the trang chủ tab in the RibbonClick the Multilevel các mục button in the groupSelect the style from the menu Library options


Here comes the number of my first main title!


Go round for the other main titles, but now when the number appears next to lớn the title, click the lightning box và choose "Continue numbering". It will make the numbers go up.


As for the subtitles, highlight one, press the TAB button on your keyboard, and then choose the same Multilevel danh sách option. It will thiết kế the subtitles of the secondary sections with the numbers like 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, etc. As in the screenshot below. You can also choose another option so that they look differently.

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Keep the ball rolling throughout the document for all of your sections. :-)

Why should I use the heading styles?

On the one hand, the heading styles greatly simplify my work and present my document in a structured fashion. On the other hand, when I insert a table of contents, Word automatically searches for those headings & displays a table of contents based on the text that I marked with each style. Later I can also use these headings lớn update my table of contents.

Creating a basic table of contents

Now I have my document well-prepared with the titles as Heading 1 & the subtitles as Heading 2. It"s time to let Microsoft Word vày its magic!

Place the cursor where you want the table of contents to appear in the documentNavigate to lớn the REFERENCES tab in the RibbonClick the Table of Contents button in the Table of Contents groupChoose one of the "Automatic" table of content styles listed


Here you are! My table of contents looks like this:


A Table of Contents also creates links for each section, allowing you to navigate khổng lồ different parts of your document. Just hold the Ctrl key on your keyboard và click to go khổng lồ any section.


Modify your table of contents

If you are not satisfied with the look of your table of contents, you can always change root and branch of it. To vì chưng so, you need to mở cửa the Table of Contents dialog box.

Click within the table of contents.Go to lớn REFERENCES -> Table of Contents.Select the "Custom Table of Contents..." command from the button"s drop-down menu.

The dialog box appears and displays the Table of Contents tab where you can customize the style và appearance of your table of contents.


If you want lớn change the way the text in your table of contents looks (the font, fonts size, colour, etc.), you need to lớn follow the steps below in the Table of Contents dialog box.

Make sure that you have chosen "From Template" in the Formats boxClick the Modify button at the bottom right to open the following window

The Modify Style dialog box displays:


Make changes khổng lồ the formatting và click OKSelect another style lớn modify and repeatWhen you have completed the editing, click OK lớn exitClick OK khổng lồ replace the table of contents

Update a table of contents

A Table of Contents is a field, not ordinary text. For this reason it doesn"t update automatically.

Once you make any changes to your document structure, you have to update the table of contents yourself. Lớn perform the update:

Click anywhere in the table of contentsPress F9 or the Update Table button in the content control (or on the REFERENCES tab)Use the Update Table of Contents dialog box to lớn choose what khổng lồ updateClick OK

You can choose lớn update page numbers only, or the entire table. It is a good idea always khổng lồ choose "Update entire table" in case you have made any other changes. Always update your table of contents before sending out or printing the document so that any changes are included.


No matter how big your document is, you can see there"s nothing complicated about creating a table of contents. The best way to learn how khổng lồ create / update a table of contents is to experiment doing it! Take some time to lớn go through the process và create your own table of contents.