Word 2010 Masterclass – Table of Contents

Table of Contents Graphic
If you have ever tried to manually add a Table of Contents to the beginning of a Word document you will know how difficult and time consuming it can be. It’s even worse when you try to alter it after making changes to the document.

Microsoft Word has a Table of Contents function, precisely to fit and overcome this problem. Follow the simple steps in this blog and you can easily take your documents to the next level.

In order to assist you, you can download a sample Word document >>here<<, in Word 2010 format, to accompany these instructions.


As we have just said, Microsoft Word 2010 can automatically create a Table of Contents for you. The easiest way for this to happen, is to use Header Styles within the document.

For each section and sub-section of your document you will mark the respective headings with H1, H2 and/or H3 styles, a process that we will discuss in detail in a little while.

Word 2010 Graphic

When we prepare the Table of Contents in this manner, the table will automatically update itself to reflect any changes you make within your document making it a really quick and painless process.

You can use the default styles that have been set up for the headings, which would be the quickest option, or you can edit the styles so that they fit with any corporate fonts and/or colours you may want. This next section deals with editing the heading styles.

Modifying Heading Styles

Word 2010 Graphic

Ensure you have the Home ribbon bar selected and go to the Styles section.

Locate the Heading 2 icon in this section and click your right-hand mouse button on it.

This should bring up the dialogue box as in the diagram to the right.

Select the Modify option in the dialogue box to bring up the Modify Styles box as shown below.

This is where we will make the changes we want.

Word 2010 Graphic

There are many changes we can make to our styles here but, for now, we will just change the font, font-size and font colour.

About one third of the way down you will see the sub-heading Formatting. Directly underneath this you will see the options to change the options I suggest.

I made the following changes:

Font: Verdana
Size: 14
Colour: Red

You make your own changes.

When your modifications are done, click OK.

Repeat these stages for the Heading 3 style.

Bear in mind that your Heading 3 style should not be more prominent than your Heading 2 style, otherwise your finished document will just look really wierd.

Applying The Styles

Highlight the paragraph title Behaviour and select the Heading 2 style.

Do the same for the following paragraph titles:
A Practical Example

Highlight the sub-paragraph title Uniform and select the Heading 3 style.

Do the same for the following sub-paragraph titles:
Personal Hygiene
Make Up

We have now prepared the document and made it ready to complete the Table of Contents process.

Adding the Table of Contents

Word 2010 Graphic

Open the References ribbon bar.

On the extreme left you will find the Table of Contents icon in the Table of Contents section.

Click on this icon to bring up the dialogue box (left).

You can select one of the Automatic Tables that are shown in this box if you want a quick option.

Select the Insert Table of Contents option to display the Table of Contents dialogue box (shown below).

Word 2010 Graphic

In this box you must ensure the Table of Contents tab is selected.

Ensure the Show page numbers box is selected.

Ensure the Right align page numbers box is selected.

Select dots in the Tab leader box.

In the Formats box, select one of the pre-formatted options. I chose Distinctive.

Click OK.

You now have a Table of Contents but to finish it off, I like to add a Page Break after the table so that is has a page to itself.

I hope you found this useful.

Bob Thomson is an IT professional with over 20 years experience in the industry having worked as a Consultant, Director, Manager and Trainer. He has vast experience using Microsoft software packages as an individual and in businesses situations.

He is also the Group Manager of the East Ayrshire Business Forum on LinkedIn.

Bob Thomson
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