Adding a Table of Contents to a Word Document

Adding a table of contents (TOC) to a Word document can make your Microsoft Word document look professional.You might want to create a report or a free e-book to give away, or maybe you are making something for your job. Either way a table of contents added to a document is a fantastic way to clearly show what information is in your document. It is also great to allow the person to navigate through the document, especially when there are hundreds of pages to go through. When you add a TOC to a word document you have an option to make the table of contents hyperlink directly to the section in the document. This is all done automatically for you when you add your table of contents. You can also simply link to to a heading without creating a TOC, however this saves a lot of time. This tutorial is not yet included in our free MS Word mini course, however make sure you grab a copy as it is a great resource to have on hand.

To make a table of contents in a word document, we first need to format the text in the document correctly. I have a few simple rules that I follow and I am going to share them with you.

How to format a Word document before adding a table of contents?Microsoft word 2007 mini course

When You are using Microsoft Word 2007 or even 2010, you will see a Stiles menu at the top of the page. See the screen shot below.

Word toc headings

In your document you will need to have:

  • The main title that will not be included in the table of contents.
  • You will need to have the main headings formatted as a heading one or H1.
  • You will need to have subheadings formatted as heading two or H2.
  • If you have further subheadings they can be formatted as H3.

This is how we make a TOC. After formatting my document and making my table of contents, here are the results below:

heading for table of contents

As you can see there is a heading one (H1) and a Heading two (H2). If I had a H3 it would be indented more than the H2.

How to add a table of contents to a word document?

Now that you have created headings in your word document, it is very easy to add a table of contents.

1.  Open your Microsoft word document and go to the beginning of the document.

2.  Click on the spot where you want to add a table of contents into your document.

3.  Go to the menu at the top, and choose the References tab.

4.  Click on the table of contents icon and a menu will appear.

5.  You can choose to insert a table of contents and customize your options or you can choose one of the example table of contents showing. See the screen shot below.

table of contents word

Watch this video on how to add a table of contents to a word document:

See more Microsoft Word computer tips.

What tips do you have to add to this article on how to add a table of contents to a word document?


  1. says

    Why do I read this now. I just finished my book 2 weeks ago. And I made a table of contents just like that. with the lines and the indent. But I did it all by hand.
    This would’ve been so much easier and faster.
    At least I know for the next time.
    Thanks Mitz!