How to Make a Table of Contents in Microsoft Word

hey guys this is Evan from Circle City Tech and today I'm going to show you how to create a table of contents in Microsoft Word. So for the longest time I wasn't sure how to do this so let's make sure that you do not run into some of the same problems that I did. So today I'm going to be using Microsoft Word 2016 on Mac but the process is roughly the same for slightly older versions of Word whether you're on a Mac or Windows computer. So I already have Word open and the first thing that we're going to need is some text on the page so as an example here I'm going to pretend like I'm making a lab report for one of the classes that I'm taking. So a lab report has a few main sections to it and it starts with an abstract then a purpose then sections for materials and methods then results, discussion, into conclusion. Although this text will act as a heading for this portion of the lab report under which there will be more text explaining where she's heading is about. Now I'm sure that some of you are all like well that's cool and all but what if I'm not writing a lab report? Well you're in luck because whether you're writing a book or an essay or whatever else it all follows a very similar process. So now that we have these categories first we will click and drag to select all of the text then we will go and click on home in the upper left hand corner to make sure that we are on the home tab and then we will go over to the right and notice that our current text setting is set to normal. What we need to do now is click on heading 1 once we click on a heading 1 you will notice that the size color and font of our texts will change don't worry though this is supposed to happen these steps we are performing now will help us later form a table of contents in just a couple clicks. But back to business the next thing that we're going to do is change all the text to look the way it did before so we will select all of the text and change it back to Black, Times New Roman, and 12 point font. The most important thing to notice is that even though the text looks the same as when we first started it is still set to heading 1 and not to normal. The next thing that I'm going to do is add a little bit of complexity to our headings so underneath the materials and methods section I'm going to add two subsections that split up materials and methods. So now that our text is there, go ahead and highlight both materials and methods next make sure that we were so you're still on the home tab and go over to the right and click on Heading 2 again this will change the text color, size, and font but we can change this all back now to Black, Times New Roman, and 12 point font. Now that we have headings and subheadings that are labeled heading 1 and heading 2 respectively believe it or not all the hard work is over. Our next step is to go over to the references tab near the top middle of the window and click on it and then go over to the left where it says table of contents when we click on this it gives us a variety of different styles including classic, contemporary, formal, and modern among many others. At the bottom of the drop down menu there are additional options for creating a custom table of contents or removing a table of contents but we'll save that for another video. So make sure to leave a comment below if you want to see how to create a custom table of contents. Anyways for this example I'm going to pick the classic layout and as soon as I click this it will automatically generate a table of contents. So after we scroll up, there it is Word was able to do all of this because we were able to make sure to name all of our sections as either heading one or two. If you had not done these steps then word would have not been able to automatically construct this table of contents. I have a couple more quick tips though so here they are. Just like the headings change the text formatting so did the creation of the table of contents, so make sure to click on the table of contents if you want to change any other text formatting to better fit the rest of the formatting in your document. Now once you start filling in more information under each section your document will become more than one page long as you add in text. Make sure the text says normal underneath the Home tab just like this if any of the heading styles are still selected then all the text will end up in your table of contents which is not what we want. One thing that you need to make sure to do once you add all the information is to scroll back up to the table of contents and click on update table this way Word will update all of the page numbers for where those section titles actually are. For example, I will push results down to the second page and now when I scroll back out to the table of contents I noticed that it so says results and everything underneath it is still on page one which is not true. All you need to do to fix this problem is update the table of contents just like this and look the problem is solved! One more thing though let's say that I forgot to add a references section but I do not want to have to redo my entire table of contents. All I have to do is follow my steps just like earlier so first type out references then select it and click on heading 1 then change the text back to Black, Times New Roman, and 12 point font. The last thing that I need to do is scroll up to the table of contents and click update table then double check that the references was added and look it was so we're all good now I added my sections before i started typing out my lab report but the great thing is that you do not have to set up your table of contents in the beginning because you can always do it at the end. So this pretty much concludes how to set up a table of contents and Microsoft Word! Make sure it will leave a comment if you have any questions, like the video if it helped, and subscribe for more videos coming soon thanks!

30 thoughts on “How to Make a Table of Contents in Microsoft Word

  1. Simple, efficient, thorough, informative and borderline fool-proof. Excellent video. Thank you very much.

  2. Thank you for this! It took me way too long to understand this, but you answered all my questions super well. I was having trouble with the updating page numbers, but I didn't realize I had to keep the original titles from the first step. Thank you so so so much!

  3. Evan,
    I really enjoyed your method of showing how to make a Table of Contents. It is nice to make the headings first then flesh the document out after. GOOD JOB. I didn't catch how you moved the table up to the top of the document but I've already learned to move my cursor to the beginning of the document before crating the Table.

  4. hi sir
    kia baty suck tay hai ap
    word may page ko different number kisay dayia jatay hai
    etc first page number 1 secound page number be 1 and third page number 2 and Next page number 3 and soon.

    plzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz help us

  5. Hey Evan,

    I have this up on my computer all the time. This way I can access it for referral when I require a refresher.

    Your videos are easy to follow and even easier to implement into whatever documents I am working on.

    Keep up the great work. It's fun to learn with your videos.

  6. Hey Evan, Watched your video. Which was very helpful. I Creating a Table of Contents in Word 2016 for Mac. I created Chapters and Sections. Looks great. But than i wanted to add some new Chapters and Sections. Each time I try to do this my table of contents changes. By adding a summary of whatever I've written within a chapter or that section. HOW CAN I AVOID from happening?

  7. Nice work! You helped me resolve all my questions about a clickable table contents in a few minutes. Thanks a lot!

  8. Awesome…., One but the saddest part is I finished my college days 8yrs Before it may be more useful for me at that time 🙂

  9. Thank you so much. One question though, do I have to manually fill in the page number of my document in the table of content? It did not come, perhaps I made a mistake or I wonder…

  10. You made this so understandable. Couldn't get it until I found your video. I'm adding you to my heroes list.

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