by Allen Wyatt
(last updated September 26, 2019)
When Peter applies a heading style to a paragraph in a document, that paragraph shows up in the Navigation pane and in any TOC he creates. If he applies a heading style to a paragraph inside a table, that paragraph does not show up in the Navigation pane and the TOC. Peter wonders why this occurs and if there is a way around it.
There are actually two separate items at play here: the inclusion of headings in (1) the TOC and (2) the Navigation pane. It is instructive to discuss each item in turn.
First, the inclusion of headings in the TOC. Headings within your document and within tables should automatically be included in a TOC if that TOC is based on heading styles and if those styles have been applied properly. The biggest potential "gotcha" here is that you may not apply the heading style to the entire paragraph of your heading.
When it comes to styles, the built-in heading styles are defined as Linked styles. This means that they can be applied to an entire paragraph or to any portion of a paragraph. What the style is actually applied to depends on what is selected when you apply the style. In other words, if you select (say) just a word or a phrase in your heading paragraph and then apply the style, it is only applied to that word or phrase, not to the entire paragraph. The problem is that only if the entire paragraph is formatted as a heading will it be included in the TOC.
The easiest way to make sure that you apply the Linked heading style to the entire paragraph is to NOT select any word or phrase in the heading paragraph. Instead, just place the insertion point in the paragraph and then apply the style. You could also, if desired, select the entire paragraph by triple-clicking within the paragraph text. Either way is fine; once you apply the heading style, it will apply to the entire paragraph.
Remember, as well, that if you make any updates to the heading formatting within the document, you'll need to update the TOC. Changes are not reflected automatically. (To update the TOC, right-click on it and choose Update Field.)
If headings in tables are still not showing up in your TOC, then it is possible that your document is exhibiting an early sign of corruption. You can verify this by creating a brand new document, putting some text in it (not text copied from the other document), adding a few tables and headings in it, and generating a TOC. The new document should show the headings from the table in the TOC just fine.
The second item is the inclusion of headings in the Navigation pane. The headings included in the Navigation pane are also only those in which the entire paragraph is formatted with the heading style. The biggest difference between what is included in the Navigation pane and in the TOC is that the Navigation pane does not include any headings in tables or in text boxes. This is a huge shortcoming to some Word users, but it is a shortcoming that has been in Word for years and years.
Unfortunately, there is no way around this shortcoming. The only possible suggestion is a workaround: Break your table into two and place the heading between the two tables as a regular paragraph. This obviously means more work in keeping multiple tables in sync with each other (relative to formatting issues, such as column widths), but it is the only known way to work around the shortcoming.
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