Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, and 2013. 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

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated May 30, 2016)


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:


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:


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 _ 

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, and 2013. 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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What is six more than 8?

2016-07-16 08:20:16


I continued my searches and I succeeded to find something useful (Paul McFedries: ). The original macro saves a file automatically (actually what Word is also doing itself) and I pasted the line for updating TOC. Sorry again for my novice level regarding macros :)

2016-07-16 07:44:55


I work with Word 2016 and no macros experience. I need a macro for automatically/continuously update TOC at certain time intervals (minutes). Including some guidance for inserting it in the Word file. I searched extensively a solution on internet but no luck. I truly appreciate any help on this matter. And I thank you very much in advance.

2013-06-17 09:46:15


If you have an undetermined number of tables of contents at run time (i.e., like Allen's example where you need to check if one exists at all, or a situation where you may have more than one TOC), you can use this code instead:

Dim toc As TableOfContents

For Each toc In ActiveDocument.TablesOfContents
Next toc

Or, of course, if you just want the page nubmers, you can replace toc.Update with toc.UpdatePageNumbers.

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