5. The TOC

In this tutorial, I want to show you how to insert a Table of Contents in Word, and also use it to check your headings are properly formatted.

The first thing to do is create a new page in your document, so you can start the table of contents on the start of a page, and not mid-way through one.  To create a new page, place your mouse cursor in the document at the point where you want to insert the table of contents, and go to the Insert tab and click Page Break.


This will insert a page break into your document, so that your table of contents (TOC) starts at the top of a page.

Now, type in a title for your TOC.  I typically just write “Contents”.  Make the title a headline, and press return so that you can create the TOC on the next line.

Click onto the Reference tab:


Then click the Table of Contents button, followed by Insert Table of Contents from the menu.

A dialogue box appears where you can configure your TOC:


The only change I make is to show 4 levels instead of the default three.  That is just in case I have used 4 levels of headings (Heading 1…..Heading 4).

Once done, click OK and you TOC will be inserted.


You can see that the TOC starts from the very beginning of the book, and because we have the book split into two sections (when we created the page numbers), there are two sets of numbering, before and after that break.

We can highlight the first few lines and just press delete on the keyboard, so out TOC only shows the entries we want.


We can now use the TOC to check headline formatting.  Do all chapter headings use the Heading1 format?  Are sections within a chapter using Heading 2, and so on?  Since the TOC indents in a hierarchical nature, it’s easy to spot which headings are Heading 1, Heading 2 and so on.  All Heading 1 titles will be flush against the left margin.  Heading 2s will be indented a little, heading 3s indented a little more.

The TOC therefore gives us a quick check that we have correctly formatted our titles.  For example, this screenshot clearly shows that I have set chapter 12 title as an Heading 2, not a heading 1.


NOTE: Whenever you make changes to your document, you should always finish the editing session by updating the TOC.  If you don’t, you may forget you have made changes and your TOC page numbers (and even whole sections of the book), won’t correlate with the correct page numbers in the book.

To update the TOC, just right click anywhere on it.


.. and select Update field.

You will be given a choice:


Update page numbers only will just make sure page numbers are all checked and fixed.

Update entire table will re-create the whole table.  This will mean any editing you have done of the table (like deleting those first few lines) will be undone.


I haven’t completed the tutorials on this site.  Instead, I’ve re-written most of them, added a lot of new ones (plus a number of video tutorials), and created a complete “Self-Publishing on Createspace” book that will take you through the entire process of converting your manuscript to Createspace format.  You can buy the book on Amazon Kindle.

Publish on Createspace

I also have my Kindle Publishing book available on Kindle, together with the Self-Publishing on Amazon book that contains both of the first two books.

Kindle Publishingself-publish on amazon

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