Create table of contents

This tutorial shows how to create an automated table of contents in Word that adapts to the document without much effort. To do this, the first step is to format the headings in the style sheets that are to be included in the table of contents. Word then automatically creates the table of contents based on these headings. We have our own instructions for tables and lists of figures.

Format Headings

In order for text passages to be automatically recognised as headings and transferred to the table of contents, they must be given a certain formatting so that Word knows what a heading is.

To do this, we mark a heading in the text.

Now we click on the Heading 1 field under the Home tab in the Format Templates group.

The text passage is now formatted as a first-level heading.

If subheadings are used, these can also be marked and formatted by clicking on heading 2 under the Form Templates group.

Note: Several levels or hierarchies of headings can be formatted in Word.

We select the remaining headings and format them as described above by clicking on the Heading 2 field in the Format Templates group on the Home tab.

And this is what the formatted headline looks like:

We format the other headings of our document.

Now Word knows which headings are level 1 and which are level 2 (sub-headings).

Insert table of contents in Word

To make a document clearer, Word offers the possibility of inserting an automated table of contents. To do this, first click on the page on which the table of contents is to be displayed later. Via the tab Links you get to the category Table of Contents with the button Table of Contents.

Clicking opens a selection of different tables of contents. Here we select Automatic Table 1.

When clicked, a table of contents is inserted at the selected position in the document.

Update table of contents

To transfer the existing, already formatted headings to the table of contents, we move the mouse over the table of contents. This appears with a grey background. When you click, an Update Table of Contents button appears directly above the table of contents.

When clicked, the directory automatically fills with the formatted headings.

In the course of document creation, the directory is not updated automatically, but must be adjusted manually, for example if page numbers change. To do this, also click on the table of contents and then on the Update table of contents button that appears above the directory. A window opens in which the decision is made as to whether the entire directory or only the page numbers are to be changed.

The selection is confirmed by clicking OK.
If the names or the number of headings themselves change, we update the entire directory and not just the page numbers. But be careful: when updating the entire directory, the formatting is also reset.