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How to Create a Table of Contents in Word

3 minute read

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If you’ve written a long, unwieldy Word document that’s difficult to navigate, creating a table of contents can be very useful for organizing your content. Here’s how to automatically make one.

To create a table of contents in Microsoft Word, the key is to apply heading styles to text that you want to be linked to in the table of contents.

Creating a table of contents

  • So let’s say we’re writing a book. We’re going to place some chapter titles at the start of various sections.



  • Highlight these titles and click Heading 1 at the top of your screen.



  • Next, let’s pick a place to insert a table of contents. Since we want this near the start of our document, right after the title page, we’ll place the cursor there now.



  • Next, click References > Table of Contents. From there, you can select a style you like for your table of contents.



  • And now you have a brand new automatic table of contents!



Modifying your table of contents

  • For instance, say you write another chapter to your book. You can add in another chapter title, highlight it, and click Heading 1. 
  • Or, for instance, let’s say you want to change the title of Chapter 3. Go ahead and edit it.
  • Once you’re down with all your changes, head up to the top of your document and find your table of contents. Click on the dropdown menu and click Update Table > Update entire table to refresh it.



  • You’ll see that both of your changes are reflected in the table of contents.


Creating subsections in your table of contents

  • To create a subheading in your table of contents, create the subheading in your document. Highlight it and click Heading 2 at the top of your screen.
  • It will be added to your table of contents, nested underneath the appropriate chapter heading.



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