How to Add a Table of Contents in Microsoft Word

Add Toc Word Doc Featured

If you are working with a large document in Microsoft Word, it may be a good idea to add a table of contents. Doing so will help you navigate the document’s contents much faster, and it’s easy to incorporate. In this tutorial, we show you how to add a table of contents in Microsoft Word, both in the desktop app and Web version.

Tip: learn how to export a Word document as a PDF file.

Prepare Your Headers

Before you can add a table of contents (TOC) to your document in Microsoft Word, you’ll need to add a few headers to the text. Think of it as dividing it into sections. Once you do this, you’ll be able to create a table of contents featuring the header names and, optionally, the pages where each section begins.

  1. If you’re using Word for Web, open your document and make sure you’ve added the section titles in the document.
Add Toc Word Web Styles
  1. Click on all of the tiles you’ve added, then press on the “Styles” button in the menu at the top.
  2. Select “Heading 1,” “Heading 2” or “Heading 3” for all of the section titles in your document.
Add Toc Word Web Headings
  1. If you’re using the Word app to edit the document on your PC, you should find the “Styles” options under the “Home” tab. You can select your option by clicking on its respective card.
Add Toc Word Pc Styles

How to Add a Table of Contents in Microsoft Word for Web

Once all your headings have been added, follow the steps below to add your table of contents:

  1. Make sure your cursor is where you want to insert your table of contents in your document.
  2. Go to “References” in the ribbon menu.
Add Toc Word Web Insert Toc
  1. Select “Table of Contents -> Insert Table of Contents.”
  2. The table of contents will be added. Note that on the Web, changing the font of the table of contents to match the one in your document doesn’t appear to work. Additional customization options are quite limited, too.
Add Toc Word Web Toc View

How to Update or Delete a Table of Contents in Microsoft Word for the Web

What if you add more text to your document, then need to modify the table of contents to reflect the changes? You can easily update it in Word for the Web.

  1. Add the new headers to your document or modify the existing ones according to your needs.
  2. Hover with your mouse pointer over the table of contents.
  3. Click the option to “Update.”
Add Toc Word Web Update Toc
  1. Alternatively, right-click on the table of contents to select it, then go to “References -> Table of Contents -> Update Table of Contents.”
Add Toc Word Web Remove Toc
  1. From the same menu, you can also “Remove Table of Contents.”

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How to Add a Table of Contents in Microsoft Word for Desktop

With the Word app for desktop, you get extra options when it comes to the table of contents. These features might not be available in older Word versions, but for the purposes of this article, we’re using Microsoft Word Professional 2021.

  1. When you go to “References -> Table of Contents,” you’ll see various options to create a table of contents. There are “Automatic Table” variants, which are the simplest solution.
Add Toc Word Pc Automatic Manual
  1. However, you also have a “Manual Table” option. If you opt for this one, you won’t have to add the headers via “Styles.” You can use normally formatted text as your section titles.
Add Toc Word Pc Manual Toc

How to Customize Your Table of Contents in Microsoft Word for Desktop

In the Word app for PC, you can customize the look of your TOC in various ways.

  1. Go to “References -> Table of Contents -> Custom Table of Contents” and check out the options.
Add Toc Word Pc Custom Toc
  1. For instance, you can opt to use hyperlinks instead of page numbers or have different tab leader styles.
Add Toc Word Pc Customizations
  1. Most importantly, you can customize the look of your headers by pressing “Modify.”
Add Toc Word Pc Modify Style
  1. Select the TOC from the list and customize its appearance, including color and font.
Add Toc Word Pc Customize Style
  1. The below image is an example of how you can customize your TOC.
Add Toc Word Pc Stylized Toc

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How to Update or Delete a Table of Contents in Microsoft Word for Desktop

If you’ve made some changes to your table, you’ll need to update it by following the instructions below to see the changes.

  1. Right-click on your table of contents and select “Update field.”
Add Toc Word Pc Update Field
  1. In the pop-up that appears, select “Update entire table,” and your changes should become visible.
Add Toc Word Pc Update All Fields
  1. If you’d like to remove the table for good, go to “References -> Table of Contents -> Remove Table of Contents.”
Add Toc Word Pc Remove All

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can I add a table of contents in the Word mobile app?

Unfortunately, no. However, the Word Web app and mobile app are synced via OneDrive, so anything you create in the former will be immediately be available on your handset. If you’re experiencing syncing issues with OneDrive, we’ll show you how to troubleshoot.

Alternatively, you can transfer the files from your computer to your Android or iOS device and have no problem viewing the table of contents in the mobile apps. They even work as intended (provided you’ve opted for this functionality), so once you tap on a header, you’ll be taken directly to the relevant section.

Can I add the title of the document in my table of contents?

Yes. You’ll need to access the “Custom Table of Contents” option. Once the window opens, click on the “Options” button and use the scroll bar on the right to view all of the “Available styles.” You’ll notice the field “Title.” Add the TOC level, such as “1,” then update the table to view the changes.

How can I make my table of contents stand out in the document?

You can create a border for it to help it stand out by going to “Insert -> Shapes.” Once you’ve inserted the shape to include the TOC, you’ll need to right-click on it and select “Format Shape -> No fill” to make the text visible.

All screenshots by Alexandra Arici.

Alexandra Arici
Alexandra Arici

Alexandra is passionate about mobile tech and can be often found fiddling with a smartphone from some obscure company. She kick-started her career in tech journalism in 2013, after working a few years as a middle-school teacher. Constantly driven by curiosity, Alexandra likes to know how things work and to share that knowledge with everyone.

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