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Tech for Lawyering Competencies: Research & Writing: MS Word for Lawyers: Table of Contents

Covers technology that assists with note-taking and writing


The creation of a Table of Contents (TOC) can be done quickly and automatically in Word. This is a huge time saver. A TOC is created with styles (see the tab above on Styles).

Inserting a Table of Contents

  1. Click in your document where you want to create the table of contents. If you’d like it to appear on its own page, insert a page break (Ctrl+Enter) before and after inserting the TOC.
  2. Click the References tab. In the Table of Contents group, click Table of Contents.
  3. Choose the style of Table of Contents you wish to insert. Automatic Table 1 creates a TOC titled Contents. Automatic Table 2 creates a TOC titled Table of Contents.

Inserting a Custom Table of Contents

The Word default TOC only have three heading levels.You may need more. When inserting the TOC, choose Custom Table of Contents to specify formatting—including how tab leaders and page numbers are formatted, and which heading levels to include.

If you formatted your headings with distinct styles for each level, but used styles other than the built-in heading styles, click the Options button in the Table of Contents dialog box to map the styles you used to the ToC framework.

If you want to change the font, font size, or other formatting attributes of the TOC, click the Modify button in the Table of Contents dialog box and specify your formatting for each TOC heading level. Any formatting you apply directly to the TOC is discarded whenever the TOC is updated.

Updating Table of Contents

Whenever you have made changes to your document, page numbers and headings may change, which will make your TOC incorrect. To update your Table of Contents, right-click in the table and choose Update Field, or choose Update Table from the Table of Contents group on the References tab. Select entire table or page numbers only and click OK to regenerate the table of contents from your headings.

Note: You don’t need to wait until your document is finished to insert a table of contents. If you’re creating a long document,create a table of contents from an outline so that you can navigate using the TOC while you’re working on the document.