- Every long document needs a table of contents. How else would readers see what a document contains with just a glance, and be able to find specific document sections? Word offers multiple ways to generate a table of contents automatically, based on document formatting or tagging. In this video, I'll show you what I think is the best way, from an outline. When you see how easy it is to use this method, you'll use outlines for all of your long word documents. If you recall, I created this document using Word's outlining feature.
There are three levels of headings; Heading 1, Heading 2, and Heading 3. Word automatically applied these headings to outline levels as I built the outline. Creating a table of contents from an outline is easy. Start by positioning the insertion point where you want the table of contents to appear. I want it to appear before the table of tables that I inserted earlier, so I'll click at the very beginning of that. Then I'll click "REFERENCES," to display the REFERENCES ribbon. And then I'll click "Table of Contents." A menu of options appears.
It shows a preview of two different automatic tables of contents, and a manual table of contents, as well as some menu options. Note that the two automatic table of contents show heading levels. The manual table of contents enables you to type in your own table from scratch. We'll choose the first option. Did you blink? I hope not. You would have missed all the action. Word created a table of contents that included the text and page numbers for each heading in the document, and put it at the beginning of the document.
I'll press ctrl+home to see it. The headings are separated from the page numbers with tabs that include a dot tab leader. I can scroll through and see the entire table. This table of contents is a word field. That means that it can update when the information it refers to is updated. This includes heading changes, new headings, removed headings, and page number changes. When the table is selected, you'll see a tab with two options. The first one is a menu that lets you change the format.
So, for example if you like the other automatic format better, you can select it. They look almost identical to me. It's just the heading that seems to change. The menu also enables you to delete the table of contents. There's a command at the bottom. This button here enables you to update the table of contents. So if the document changed and you wanted to make sure the table of contents was up to date, you could click this button to update it. I cover updating automatically generated contents, such as a table of contents, later in this course.
You might notice here that this table of contents includes all three heading levels in the document. But suppose you don't want to go into that much detail. You could limit the heading levels that are included. To do this, you need to create a custom table of contents. Click "Table of Contents," in the REFERENCES ribbon. And this time, choose "Custom Table of Contents." The Table of Contents tab of the Table of Contents dialog box appears. This should look familiar if you created a table of figures with me in an earlier video.
It works pretty much the same way. You use options here to specify how the table of contents should look in the printed document. And you could set this option here to determine whether page numbers should appear in a web version of the document, if you publish it on the web. Formats, down here, controls the style of the table of contents. I'll keep it set to "From Template." That'll make sure that it matches the template in the table of tables that I've already created. What we really want is this option here, "Show Levels." Right now the table of contents is showing 3 levels, but we only want to show 2.
So I can click this tiny down arrow, or just change the number in the box, so that it says "2." The preview area changes accordingly. When I'm done setting options I can click "OK." Word asks if I want to replace the selected table of contents. As a matter of fact I do, so I'll click "Yes." And Word makes the replacement. You could see that the level three headings are gone. In the next video, I'll show you how you can create a table of contents based on any style, not just headings.
You might find this useful if you create structured documents, but don't use an outline or the built-in heading styles.
- Understanding challenges with long documents
- Exploring the process for building a long document
- Structuring a document with outlines and master pages
- Adding captions
- Working with footnotes and endnotes
- Inserting citations and managing sources
- Creating an index with a concordance file
- Numbering chapters and pages
- Formatting page breaks
- Including headers and footers
- Adding a cover page
- Setting the document theme
- Updating automatically generated content
- Formatting long-document components
- Printing a long document