Word 2003: Create an automatic Table of ContentsNovember 10, 2008
It is very easy to set up an automatic Table of Contents (TOC) in Word 2003 so that you don’t have to manually type in headings and page numbers, and so that you don’t have to go back and change them every time you update the document. (Instructions for Word 2007)
The only ‘rule’ is that you must use styles for your headings.
You can either use Word’s built-in Heading styles or create your own. To get a hierarchical TOC, make sure you also use hierarchical heading styles for each topic’s main heading, subheading, and sub-subheadings (e.g. Heading 1, Heading 2, Heading 3).
Set up your document using hierarchical heading styles for your headings and sub-headings. For this exercise, use Word’s default Heading 1, 2, and 3 styles. Leave some space at the beginning of the document—this is where you’ll insert your auto TOC.
- When you are ready to test the auto TOC, click in the empty space at the beginning of the document.
- From Word 2003’s menu, select Insert > Reference > Index and Tables.
- Select the Table of Contents tab.
- If you don’t want your TOC as blue hyperlinks, clear the Use hyperlinks instead of page numbers check box.
- Click OK—your auto TOC is inserted at the beginning of your document.
If you don’t like the fonts used, or how the heading levels are indented, or want to exclude a heading style from being reported in the TOC, you’ll need to modify the styles:
- Click anywhere in the TOC, then select Insert > Reference > Index and Tables again.
- Select the Table of Contents tab if it’s not already the active tab.
- Click the Options button to specify the styles to use to create the auto TOC, and the hierarchical level appearance they will take (this is very useful if you want to include an extra style in the TOC, such as an Appendix style at level 1). Delete a number from a box to not display that style in the TOC. When finished, click OK.
- Click the Modify button to change the ‘look and feel’ of the TOC. Select the TOC style, then click Modify to change its font etc. Repeat for all other TOC levels. When you have finished changing the appearance of each TOC level, click OK.
- You will be asked if you want to replace the existing TOC—click OK to do so.
After you add more content to the document, or need to update the page numbers in the TOC, you’ll need to update it. The quickest way is to click anywhere in the TOC then press F9. You will be asked if you want to update just the page numbers or the entire table. The safest option is Entire Table—this updates the page numbers and adds or removes headings to reflect the current headings used.
- Word 2007: Create an automatic Table of Contents: https://cybertext.wordpress.com/2010/07/23/word-2007-create-an-automatic-table-of-contents/
[This article was first published in the December 2003 CyberText Newsletter; links last checked July 2010]