This is how it works

You want to add a table of contents to your Word document? With the following instructions, you can generate it easily and automatically.

For a longer document or a term paper, a few pages come together quickly in Microsoft Word. Fortunately, if you want to organize everything clearly in a table of contents, you don’t have to do it yourself by hand. Office provides the function to automatically generate a table of contents, which is not only always up-to-date, but also perfectly formatted.

How to do it: Automatic table of contents in Word

  • First, go through your document and make sure that your headings are formatted correctly. To do this, you need the Styles menu. This is located at the top of your Word navigation under “Start”. Expand the style menu located in the middle of the navigation by clicking on the “Expand” icon at the bottom right.
  • Now select the text of your respective headings and then click on the style you want to use in the expanded style menu. The default settings are usually “Heading 1” and “Heading 2”, which are sufficient in most cases. You can also use this to determine hierarchies of headings, where 1 is the highest level. These hierarchies are also displayed in the table of contents.
  • After you have formatted all the headings, you can now create the table of contents. To do this, put the cursor in the place in the document where the automatic table of contents should be generated. Typically quite far at the beginning.
  • Now click on the menu item “References” in the upper Word navigation. In the menu bar that has appeared, you will find the “Table of Contents” button on the far left. Select the “Automatic table of contents” option here and Word will generate your table of contents at the point where you have placed your cursor.

If you continue to work on your document after creating it and create additional headings, you can automatically add them to the table of contents. To do this, you just need to right-click on the table of contents and select the “Update fields” option. Word then supplements the newly added or changed headings.