How to Create a Table of Contents in an Existing Word Document

By Jen Anderson

Microsoft Word can generate a table of contents for your document that you can update as you modify the document. Word will look for the paragraphs that are in a Heading style (Heading 1, Heading 2, etc.) and add them to your table of contents. You should create a table of contents and then edit your word document based on the resulting table. You can then refresh the table of contents to reflect changes to your document.

Things You'll Need

  • A Microsoft Word document

Step 1

Click on the location in your document where you want the table of contents to appear, in order to place the cursor focus on that spot.

Step 2

Select "Index and Tables..." from the "Insert" menu.

Step 3

Click on the "Table of Contents" tab.

Step 4

Select your desired options in the dialog box. You can specify the style, how many levels of headings should be included in the table of contents and whether you want page numbers to be included.

Step 5

Click "OK." Word will generate the table of contents.

Step 6

Inspect the table of contents and make any necessary edits to the document. If there are items included in the "TOC" that shouldn't be, change the style assigned to that paragraph so that it is not a heading. If there are items that should be included and are not, change the style assigned to that paragraph so that it is a heading.

Step 7

Refresh the table of contents to reflect the changes you have made to the document by right-clicking on the table of contents and selecting "Update Field." Repeat this step anytime you edit the document.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you're working in Word 2007 or newer, you can create a table of contents by clicking "Table of Contents" in the "Table of Contents" group of the "References" tab. The dialog box described above will be displayed.