Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365. 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: Updating an Entire TOC from a Macro.

Updating an Entire TOC from a Macro

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


If you have a document that contains a table of contents (TOC), and you update the fields in the entire document, Word asks if you want to update the entire table, the chapter entries, or just the page numbers associated with the existing chapter entries in the Table of Contents. This occurs because TOCs are implemented through the use of a field, and when you update all fields you are telling Word you also want to update the field underlying the TOC.

You can update a TOC using a macro by utilizing the TablesOfContents collection. Each item in the collection represents a single TOC in the document. (In most documents the collection will consist of only a single item.) To update the entire TOC, you use this format of the command:

ActiveDocument.TablesOfContents(1).Update

The Update method is what does the work; it updates the TOC. If you want to update only the page numbers in the TOC, you use an entirely different method:

ActiveDocument.TablesOfContents(1).UpdatePageNumbers

Whenever you use commands like these in a macro, it is a good idea to make sure that there is actually a TOC in the document before you try to do any updating. The easiest way to do this is to just check the Count property for the collection, as shown here:

If ActiveDocument.TablesOfContents.Count = 1 Then _ 
  ActiveDocument.TablesOfContents(1).Update

Note:

If you would like to know how to use the macros described on this page (or on any other page on the WordTips sites), I've prepared a special page that includes helpful information. Click here to open that special page in a new browser tab.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (8621) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Updating an Entire TOC from a Macro.

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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