Hyperlinks from Headings to the TOC

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated February 20, 2021)

Peter writes manuals and can autogenerate a chapter's Table of Contents in the normal way. This allows readers to click on a TOC entry and jump to the heading, but there is no way to click on the heading and get back to the TOC. So readers can do this, Peter has to individually apply a hyperlink to the heading and then get rid of the underlining, which he finds unsightly. A manual's chapter can contain hundreds of headings, so the task of applying the hyperlinks individually can be painful. Peter wonders if there is a way to automate the adding of hyperlinks to headings as he needs.

Peter's approach, while well intentioned, is completely unnecessary. Word does provide a way to click a heading in the TOC (which Peter knows) and then return to that heading in the TOC (which Peter apparently doesn't know). The specific shortcut for accomplishing this task is Alt+Left Arrow. The shortcut jumps back to where you were before clicking on the hyperlink in the TOC, which makes it great for long tables of contents—you are returned to exactly where you were rather than to the beginning of the TOC.

The shortcut key is the best solution for readers; it works by default on a standard Word installation. If wanted, however, you could add a Back button to your Quick Access Toolbar that could be clicked to return to the TOC's point of departure. Follow these steps:

  1. Display the Word Options dialog box. (In Word 2007 click the Office button and then click Word Options. In Word 2010 or a later version, display the File tab of the ribbon and then click Options.)
  2. At the left side of the dialog box click Customize (Word 2007) or Quick Access Toolbar (later versions of Word). (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Quick Access Toolbar area of the Word Options dialog box.

  4. Using the Choose Commands From drop-down list, choose All Commands.
  5. In the list of commands, locate and select the Back command.
  6. Click the Add button. The Back command now appears at the right side of the dialog box, in the list of Quick Access Toolbar commands.
  7. Use the Up and Down arrow buttons to situate the Back command within the Quick Access Toolbar commands.
  8. Click OK.

The Back command, which now appears on the Quick Access Toolbar, performs the exact same function as the Alt+Left Arrow shortcut.

If you still want to add hyperlinks to headings, the only way to automate the process is to use a macro. The following macro steps through each entry in the first TOC in the document, finds the referenced heading in the main body of the text, and then adds a hyperlink back to the TOC.

Sub HyperlinkHeadings()
    Dim hyp As Hyperlink
    Dim toc As TableOfContents
    Dim k As Long
    Dim bkmk As String
    Dim sCode As String
    Dim fld As Field
    Dim aRange As Range

    If ActiveDocument.TablesOfContents.Count = 0 Then
        MsgBox "There are no Tables of Contents in document"
        Exit Sub
    End If

    Set toc = ActiveDocument.TablesOfContents(1)

    For Each fld In toc.Range.Fields
        sCode = fld.Code.Text
        If InStr(sCode, "HYPERLINK") > 0 Then
            bkmk = Mid(sCode, InStr(sCode, "_"))
            bkmk = Left(bkmk, Len(bkmk) - 2)
            fld.Select
            ActiveDocument.Bookmarks.Add Range:=Selection.Range, _
              Name:=bkmk & "R"

            Set aRange = ActiveDocument.Bookmarks(bkmk).Range
            aRange.Select
            With ActiveDocument.Hyperlinks.Add(Anchor:=Selection.Range, _
                Address:="", SubAddress:=bkmk & "R", _
                  TextToDisplay:=Selection.Text)
                .Range.Select
                Selection.ClearCharacterAllFormatting
            End With
        End If
    Next fld

    Options.CtrlClickHyperlinkToOpen = False
End Sub

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 (13059) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 365.

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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Developing Style Families

Styles, as implemented in Word, represent a powerful way to help you easily standardize your formatting tasks. When ...

Discover More

Highlighting Information Using Shading

Word allows you to shade entire paragraphs or simple selections of text. This is a great way to highlight information on ...

Discover More

Column Formatting Based On a Filter

When working with filtered data, you may want to specially format a column that has a filter applied to it. Here are a ...

Discover More

The First and Last Word on Word! Bestselling For Dummies author Dan Gookin puts his usual fun and friendly candor back to work to show you how to navigate Word 2013. Spend more time working and less time trying to figure it all out! Check out Word 2013 For Dummies today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Adding Headers or Footers to a TOC

Word is very flexible in allowing you to include all sorts of information in a table of contents. This includes ...

Discover More

Adding Column Headings to a Table of Contents

Word makes it easy to create a Table of Contents. If you want column headings in that table, getting them takes a bit of ...

Discover More

Creating a Table of Contents from TOC Fields

If you inserted a bunch of TOC fields in your document, you can create your table of contents quite easily based on those ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is three less than 3?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the ribbon interface (Word 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.