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Jumping Back to the TOC

Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007 and 2010. If you are using an earlier version (Word 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Word, click here: Jumping Back to the TOC.

Len has a rather long document in which he has created a table of contents. If he clicks a link in the TOC, Word displays the heading in the document. If he then wants to return to the TOC, Len notes that there doesn't seem to be a way to easily do so. He wonders if there is a single-click method of returning to the TOC after using the TOC to jump to a location in the document.

There are several different ways that you can approach this problem, and the solution that you choose will depend on your personal preference. One way is to simply rely on the position of your TOC. Most of the time the TOC will be near the very beginning of the document. This fact allows you to press Ctrl+Home to jump to the beginning of the document where the TOC can again be easily accessed.

Many people also choose to use the Document Map capability of Word. Turn it on, and you'll see an outline, at the left of the screen, that makes it easy to navigate through the document. Just locate the heading used for your TOC in the Document Map, click it once, and you are back at the TOC.

Another approach is to use the Go To feature: Just press F5 to display the Go To tab of the Find and Replace dialog box, choose Field at the left side, and then enter "toc" (without the quote marks) at the right side. When you press Enter, Word jumps to the TOC. This works because tables of contents are implemented in Word using fields, specifically the TOC field. Thus, Go To jumps to wherever the TOC field is located.

Still another approach is to use the Shift+F5 shortcut. This keystroke is supposed to cycle through the last three or four locations at which you made edits in your document. In testing, however, it also jumps back to the TOC, even if you didn't make an edit in the TOC. (Why? I'm not sure—it just did it for me.) In other words, you click the hyperlink to the heading, do some reading or work at the heading, then press Shift+F5, and Word jumps back to the TOC. It should be pointed out that this isn't always a reliable method of jumping back; if you make too many edits since you last revisited the TOC, Word will not take you back there.

You can also, if desired, use the Alt+Left Arrow shortcut. This is equivalent to pressing the Back button on your browser—it jumps back to where you were before clicking on the hyperlink in the TOC. This is particularly helpful with the TOC because if the table is quite long, the action will take you back to exactly where you clicked the heading in the TOC, rather than just to the beginning of the table.

If you prefer, you can modify the toolbar to show a Back button. Just follow these steps:

  1. Display the Word Options dialog box. (In Word 2007 click the Office button and then click Word Options. In Word 2010 display the File tab of the ribbon and then click Options.)
  2. At the left side of the dialog box click Customize (Word 2007) or Quick Access Toolbar (Word 2010). (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Quick Access Toolbar area of the Word Options dialog box.

  4. Using the Choose Commands From drop-down list, choose All Commands.
  5. 4 In the list of commands, locate and select the Back command.
  6. Click the Add button. The Back command moves to the right side of the dialog box.
  7. Click OK.

Your new Back command works just the same as the Back button on a browser, and the same as if you pressed the Alt+Left Arrow shortcut.

Word also provides another helpful command you can add to your toolbar. It was created to specifically allow you to jump back to the TOC. The name of the command is "Go to TOC." The command is very convenient, but only works if you have a single TOC in your document. (If, for instance, you have a TOC at the beginning of each section or chapter in your document, then it won't work as expected.) To add it to a toolbar, follow the same steps you used to add the Back command, with the only difference being that in step 4 you would locate and select the "Go to TOC" command.

Some people prefer to use bookmarks to allow jumping back to the TOC. Select something near the beginning of the TOC (perhaps the TOC's header) and bookmark it. Then you can use either Go To to jump to the bookmark, or you can use a small macro to jump back to it:

Sub BackTOC()
    Selection.GoTo What:=wdGoToBookmark, Name:="MyTOC"
End Sub

In this case, the name of the bookmark is MyTOC. This macro could be assigned to a keyboard shortcut or it could end up on a toolbar.

You could also create a hyperlink in your document that that jumped back to the bookmark. This hyperlink could easily be placed at the end of each section of your document, or even in the footer of each page.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (12266) applies to Microsoft Word 2007 and 2010. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Jumping Back to the TOC.

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Comments for this tip:

Harry Audus    04 Jan 2017, 05:53
"You can also, if desired, use the Alt+Left Arrow shortcut. This is equivalent to pressing the Back button..."

Not on my laptop. And I can't find a reference to it in Windows Help for shortcuts either.
Branko    01 Nov 2016, 13:47
One of the things that I did for a manual I wrote was to create a hyperlink in the header which users can click on on any page. It is linked to the TOC through a bookmark.
Solotrader    21 Oct 2015, 14:22
Thanks a Million to Ken Endacott! These Macros worked perfectly and were simple to implement (although I had to run them from the VB Editor the first time). Using Word 2010. This is what I have always wanted to be able to do.
Ken Endacott    20 Oct 2015, 06:39

The following steps will place a button in the header or footer so that it appears on every page. Clicking on the button will jump back to the top of the TOC.

Be aware that you will be adding a macro to the document and it will need to be saved as a .docm file. Also, the users will need to set their Macro Security to Enable all macros.

1. Position the cursor in the header or footer
2. In the Controls group of the Developer tab click the Legacy Tools button and in the ActiveX controls click the Command Button icon. A button will be displayed. Dragging the corners will change its size.
3. Right click on the button and select Properties. Change the Caption text to something like "Jump to TOC"
4. Right click on the button and select View Code. In the subroutine displayed enter:

With ActiveDocument
  If .TablesOfContents.Count > 0 Then
    ActiveWindow.ScrollIntoView Selection.Range, True
  End If
End With

5. In the Controls group of the Developer banner, click Design Mode to de-activate it.
Klaus K    19 Oct 2015, 10:09
Many, many thanks to Ken Endacott and this site. Your Macros are a lifesaver. Very simple to implement and use on Word 2010, 14.0 32bit.
Marsha    30 Sep 2015, 15:02
I should note - my TOC was used with styles :)
Marsha    30 Sep 2015, 14:59
I have a document that will be distributed to new employees. It is fairly lenghty, will probably be around 30 pages once completed. I would like to add a button on each page that will bring you back to the TOC when pressed. Is that possible?
Chris    02 May 2015, 07:54
I've relied on simply adding a "Back to Top" hyperlink to the footer (or could link to a book mark at the TOC but my TOC was at the top of the document).

However, need to double click on the footer to open it and then click on the link.

Is there an easy way to autoinsert this text on every page in a way so the link is active without having to open the footer?
Ken Endacott    10 Apr 2015, 06:31
The macro ReverseLinkHeadings will create reverse TOC links so that clicking on a heading will jump the cursor to the TOC entry for that heading.

What it does is place a bookmark at each TOC entry and changes each heading paragraph into a hyperlink pointing to the appropriate bookmark. The bookmarks are given the same hidden name as the TOC bookmarks but with the suffix "R".

Before changes are made to the headings or before the TOC is regenerated the reverse links should be removed and re-created after the changes. The macro RemoveReverseLinks will remove the bookmarks and change the headings back to text.

Sub ReverseLinkHeadings()
Dim hyp As Hyperlink
Dim toc As TableOfContents
Dim bkmk As String
Dim bkmkR As String
Dim sCode As String

  If ActiveDocument.TablesOfContents.Count = 0 Then
    MsgBox "There are no Tables of Contents in document"
    Exit Sub
  End If
  Options.CtrlClickHyperlinkToOpen = True
  Set toc = ActiveDocument.TablesOfContents(1)
  For Each hyp In toc.Range.Hyperlinks
    bkmk = hyp.SubAddress
    bkmkR = bkmk & "R"
    If Selection.Paragraphs(1).Range.Bookmarks.Count > 0 Then
    End If
    ActiveDocument.Bookmarks.Add Range:=Selection.Range, Name:=bkmkR

    If ActiveDocument.Bookmarks.Exists(bkmk) Then
      If Selection.Hyperlinks.Count = 0 Then
        With ActiveDocument.Hyperlinks.Add(Anchor:=Selection.Range, _
           Address:="", SubAddress:=bkmkR, TextToDisplay:=Selection.Text)
        End With
        sCode = Selection.Range.Hyperlinks(1).TextToDisplay
        With ActiveDocument.Hyperlinks.Add(Anchor:=Selection.Range, _
           Address:="", SubAddress:=bkmkR, TextToDisplay:=sCode)
        End With
        ActiveDocument.Bookmarks.Add Range:=Selection.Range, Name:=bkmk
      End If
    End If
  Next hyp
  Options.CtrlClickHyperlinkToOpen = False
End Sub

Sub RemoveReverseLinks()
Dim hyp As Hyperlink
Dim toc As TableOfContents
Dim bkmk As String
Dim aRange As Range

  If ActiveDocument.TablesOfContents.Count = 0 Then
    MsgBox "There are no Tables of Contents in document"
    Exit Sub
  End If
  Set toc = ActiveDocument.TablesOfContents(1)
  For Each hyp In toc.Range.Hyperlinks
     bkmk = hyp.SubAddress
     If ActiveDocument.Bookmarks.Exists(bkmk) Then
       Selection.MoveEnd unit:=wdCharacter, Count:=-1
       If Selection.Hyperlinks.Count > 0 Then
         Set aRange = Selection.Range
         ActiveDocument.Bookmarks.Add Range:=aRange, Name:=bkmk
         If ActiveDocument.Bookmarks.Exists(bkmk & "R") Then
           ActiveDocument.Bookmarks(bkmk & "R").Delete
         End If
       End If
     End If
   Next hyp
   Options.CtrlClickHyperlinkToOpen = False
End Sub
paul b.    09 Apr 2015, 17:20
Excellent job, Allen. God bless.
Tariqul    10 Jul 2013, 02:07
love this
nsj    30 Apr 2013, 00:15
really loved your tip. btw if toc is created using RD field.. as i have a very huge document we have splitted the documents based on the heading levels. the link dont work at all.. is there any way to retrieve the links such that if clicked, the topic selected gets open by opening the respective sub document.
Dave Rathbun    26 Nov 2012, 06:54
In addition to the Back command described above, there is also a Go To TOC listed under All Commands that can be placed on the Quick Access Toolbar. The only issue is that in order to work, the TOC must be made using styles. When the TOC is generated using TOC Fields, clicking the Go To TOC button results in an error message stating that there is no TOC.
Becci    12 Nov 2012, 11:34
Love all these tips!! Thank you so much for providing this service.
Surendera M. Bhanot    12 Nov 2012, 11:20
I lke this one as I create ToC for each lengthy document
Ned    11 Nov 2012, 13:23
You might make each heading a hyperlink back to the table of contents.

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