Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021. 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: Creating a Table of Contents from Heading Levels.

Creating a Table of Contents from Heading Levels

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated December 16, 2023)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021


If you are writing a long document or a book, you may want to create a Table of Contents (TOC) for your document. The easiest way to create a TOC is to use heading levels, as defined by the Word styles. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Position the insertion point where you want the TOC inserted.
  2. Display the References tab of the ribbon.
  3. Click Table of Contents in the Table of Contents group. Word displays a drop-down list of TOC options.
  4. Choose Insert Table of Contents. Word displays the Table of Contents tab of the Table of Contents dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  5. Figure 1. The Table of Contents tab of the Table of Contents dialog box.

  6. Make sure that the Formats drop-down list is set to From Template.
  7. Using the Show Levels control, specify how many heading levels should be included in the TOC.
  8. Click on OK.

Note, again, that this process creates a TOC based on heading levels within your document. This means that your document must use heading styles throughout it. (Heading styles are named "Heading 1," "Heading 2," etc.) If you apply these as you are creating your document—or if you go back and apply the styles later—then creating the TOC is a snap, as described above.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (5950) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Creating a Table of Contents from Heading Levels.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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