Create a Table of Contents in Microsoft Word

September 2016

The use of a table of contents in Microsoft Word is a neat way of prioritizing your document and summarizing the content. You can create a table of contents in one of two ways on the word processor: manually, by creating paragraph titles yourself, or automatically, by using Word's built-in headings capability. This article will explain how to use both methods.

Create Table of Contents Manually in Word

The first step is to select the style and format of your table of contents. Open a new document and type any title onto the page. Then, use the TAB button on your keyboard to move to the other side of the page. Type your page number and then select your tab stop character. (Note that if you can't see the character, you can pull it up by going to Home > Show/Hide in the Paragraph section.)

Now go to the Page Layout tab and click on Paragraph Dialog Box. Click on Tabs > Tab stop position and enter where you'd like the page number to go. Verify your alignment (we suggest choosing Right) and then choose which Leader option you'd like to use. Press ENTER to finish your first entry.

Repeat the process above as many times as needed.

Create Table of Contents Automatically in Word

Creating a table of contents is much easier using Word's Heading styles, which automatically formats your document and inputs your headings into a table of contents. Furthermore, this capability will update your document upon addition or deletion of a document heading.

To use this feature, simply select the text that you would like to appear in your table of contents. Then, go to Home > Styles and select the heading style you'd like to use:


You can view more heading styles by clicking the arrow to expand the Quick Style gallery.

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