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MS Word: Table of Contents

It’s not uncommon to use a table of contents in rather long or important documents and it’s also not uncommon to dread the work it takes to create one manually. All the formatting involved can be the stuff of nightmares for weeks on end.

The good news is that if you use Heading Styles from the Home tab to identify the sections of your document then you can have that table of contents up and running in absolutely no time.

Don’t worry if you didn’t use the headings… Word still has you covered when it comes to that formatting dilemma.

On to the issue at hand…

My first thought naturally went to the Insert tab of the Ribbon… after all, I am looking to insert a table of contents so it made sense to me.

Yeah, no… it wasn’t there.

Upon further inspection I found the table of contents feature on the References tab.


As you can see, when you click the Table of Contents button you get a variety of choices.

The first two are styles of tables that Word will automatically populate with the headings and the page numbers where they are located.

The third choice is labeled as “Manual Table” and will insert a table of contents template where all the formatting is set up but you will need to create the entries yourself.

That’s really all there is to it. You can quickly use this feature to either have Word use your headings as entries in the table  -or-  you can grab the template and at least let Word take care of the formatting nightmare for you!

~ April