Word: Add an automatic table of contents

Word: Add an automatic table of contents

Many people wonder how to add an automatic table of contents in Office Word. The task can be complex, but if you understand the rules, it will not will never be a problem for you again.

How to proceed to add an automatic table of contents in your document?

The method that I will present to you in this article is the simplest. You just have to read the article carefully and launch the Word document on your computer.

Starting Word

Customization of titles

The very first step in adding an automatic table of contents is to customize the different titles (styles). Headings are very important details that will come in handy when you ask Word to generate an automatic table of contents for you.

In the Home nail, you probably have something that looks like this:

Different styles

These are the titles in question, which we will start by personalizing. We will be interested in the titles 1, 2 and 3. At the end of the article, you will already know how to proceed next, in case the title 4 you would need.

Now point the cursor to Title 1, as in the picture below:

Style modification

Choose the option “Edit". You will then have all the options for modifying the style. As you can see on your screen, the style name is Title 1 (I do not advise you to change it, but you can). The default font is “Calibri Light”, the font size is 16, and the font color is Blue.

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Edit these details according to your preferences. You can also use mine:

Custom style and title

To give you a clear overview of the matter, I have pointed to different modifications by numbered red arrows. The number 1 arrow indicates the font I have put in Times New Roman, 2 indicates the policy number ,. The number 3 indicates the character gras (all the titles will be automatically put in bold), the 4 represents the color of the text which was in Blue and who will now be in Black.

The number 5 arrow on the other hand, indicates the interline which will each time be defined between the title and its content. After all, then do OK.

Repeat the procedure for Titles 2 and 3 and do the same.

Other styles to customize

Activating the navigation pane

Before proceeding, please activate the navigation pane in the tab Displays and Signage :

Activating the navigation pane

Enabling this pane allows you to create an outline that allows you to easily interact with your document. Once the navigation pane is activated, it will appear directly to the left of your document.

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Definition of titles in hierarchy

After customizing and activating the navigation pane, in this part it will be a question of defining different titles according to a certain hierarchy. Briefly, it will be a question of defining the main points of the document as titles 1, sub-points like titles 2, the sub-points of titles 2 like titles 3 and so on.

To do this, select the text of the first point in your document. Then go to the style level and click on “Title 1 ″:

Definition of the first title

The selected title can then be visible in the navigation pane of your document. This allows you to know your position, to move quickly through the content of your document, and of course to generate an automatic table of contents.

Then select the second point of your document. If it is a subpoint of the first, define it as a “Title 2 ″. Otherwise if it is a point of the same hierarchical level as the preceding one, then it will also be a “Title 1 ″ like its predecessor.

You will notice in your document, that the different titles defined in the document will be visible in the navigation pane. All that remains is to produce our automatic table of contents.

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Adding the table of contents

Before adding a table of contents, please go to and place the cursor where you want to place it within your document (on a new page is better). Then go to the “References", click on "Table of contents” and select “Automatic table 1 ″:

Adding the table of contents

After that, you should see your table of contents appear automatically with different headings and the rest of the details that go with it.

Update the table of contents

It could happen that you change any title and each time you change a title, your table of contents will not know it on its own. You will then have to update your table of contents, as if asking it to identify new details.

To do this, go to your table and click in the middle:

Updating the table of contents

The option "Update table” will be displayed. Click on it, and select “Update whole table”, then do OK to validate the modifications.

That's all to add an automatic table of contents. With a little repetition it will become a habit for you.

Hope this article has been helpful to you. If you liked it, please share or leave a comment.

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