Word: Removing hyperlinks in a TOC

July 27, 2008

Word likes to do some of your thinking for you—which can be a blessing or a curse, depending on how much you like Word.

One of the things Word thinks you should do is have your automated Table of Contents (TOC) entries as hyperlinks, and it may even put a blue underline beneath them for you. But what if you don’t want this?

In all versions of Word you can remove the hyperlink attribute from the TOC field code using the following method:

  1. Using the keyboard arrows, position your cursor just in front of the first TOC entry.
  2. Right-click, then select Toggle Field Codes. The field code is displayed—it will look something like { TOC \o “1-3” \h }.
  3. Delete the \h part.
  4. Press F9 to refresh the Table of Contents.
  5. Select the Update entire table option, then click OK.

Update: 21 August 2008: Be aware that removing the TOC hyperlinks in a Word 2007 document will not create a clickable TOC in any PDF you create from that document. See here for details:

[This article was first published in the March 2003 CyberText Newsletter]


  1. I tried this procedure in Word 2003. It does not work at all. Using F9 merely displays an error that no hyperlinks are associated with the TOC.

  2. Strange. I just tried it in Word 2003 (July 1, 2009), and it didn’t remove the clickable hyperlinks at all. I didn’t get the error message you got, but I still had a clickable page number for the TOC entries. However, it was only clickable when I held down the Ctrl key. Without the Ctrl key, the page number exhibits no linking behaviour at all. I wonder if a Microsoft Office update has changed this since I first wrote this procedure in 2003.

  3. It worked for me, but the TOC is still in a table or group. I can’t remove the shading.

  4. This is really great feature. I tried and got worked for me. I saved lot of my time with this. Thanks to the orginal post.

  5. This is good! But for me, I have my TOC links disabled and when I click+Ctrl I get a message saying “This action has been cancelled due to restrictions on this computer” and I don’t know how to restore them. Pls help!


  6. Hi Ephraim

    I can’t get what you’re seeing no matter what I do with the TOC. Is your system locked down by your company? I’ve worked in offices where access to various options in Word and other applications is very restricted. It’s the only thing I can think of that might be causing this.

    I suggest you pose your problem to the good folks over at the Microsoft Word forums: http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/office/forum/word


  7. This doesn’t work for me at all. When I follow the directions headings levels 2 and 3 are removed and it is still hyperlinked. Cutting and pasting either retains the hyperlinks or removes the hyperlinks and changes the format.

  8. Found the solution – Control/Shift/F9 – perfect!!! We can end this discussion thread now.

  9. What worked for me was to select the entire document (or offending sections) and ensure they were formatted as NORMAL and not a heading. It was then necessary to redo the headings you want to show in the TofC. A new line (return) was need to be placed between the characters with different NORMAL and HEADING settings to keep the two types from interfering with each other.
    Good luck and don’t forget to cross your fingers.

  10. how to undo this?

  11. Assuming you’ve just made the change and don’t want it, you can immediately do Ctrl+Z (or click the Undo icon) to revert back. If you made the change some time back, then you’ll need to reinsert an automated Table of Contents.

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