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: Customized Tables of Contents.

Customized Tables of Contents

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated December 27, 2017)

Have you ever created a table of contents for a document? Word makes it easy to do, as described in other issues of WordTips. What if you want to customize the way in which the tables are formatted by Word?

For most formatting of TOCs, all you need to do is change the various styles assigned to the TOC entries by Word. For a standard table of contents, the style TOC 1 is used to format the TOC entry corresponding to paragraphs formatted with the Heading 1 style. Likewise, TOC 2 corresponds to Heading 2, TOC 3 to Heading 3, etc.

To change how the TOC entry looks, just change the formatting for the TOC styles. These styles are the same as any other paragraph style, so you can change font characteristics, alignment, indentation, spacing, borders, bullets—the works.

One way you might want to customize your TOC is to change a particular TOC entry so it doesn't show page numbers. A clever way to do this is to change the style for the TOC entry so that the page number prints to the right of the edge of your paper. Just adjust the tab stop defined in the appropriate TOC entry so it is at a setting such as 9 inches, which is outside the printing area of a normal sheet of paper.

The proper way to turn off page numbers for a particular TOC level is to use a switch in the field code used to create the TOC. For instance, if you wanted the TOC entries corresponding with Heading 2 paragraphs to not include page numbers, you could follow these steps:

  1. Create your TOC as you normally would.
  2. Position the insertion point somewhere inside the TOC.
  3. Press Shift+F9. The entire TOC should collapse to a single field code, similar to what is shown here:
  4.      { TOC \o "1-3" \h \z }
  5. Modify the field code so it looks like this:
  6.      { TOC \o "1-3" \n "2-2" \h \z }
  7. With the insertion point still within the field, press F9. Word displays a dialog box that asks if you want to update the page numbers or the entire table.
  8. Choose to update the entire table, then click OK.

The resulting TOC should show page numbers on all TOC entries, except those that use the TOC 2 style.

For a great article on using switches with TOC entries, see the following Web 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 (12887) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Customized Tables of Contents.

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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