Add a Table of Contents to Your Document: MS Word 2003

Dennis Faas's picture

You've composed a very large, very informative document. And now you want to configure it so that your readers can navigate it easily using a Table of Contents (TOC).

Defining Style

To begin the process, you will first need to properly format your document with Styles.

  1. Highlight the document text that you want to show up as table of contents major sections.
  2. Next, depress CTRL-ALT-1. You can highlight more than one paragraph at a time by depressing your CTRL key (even if the paragraphs aren't in sequence). This will apply the Heading 1 style to your text. This text stands out from the rest and is normally used to signify major sections of the document.
  3. Now, glance up at your Formatting Toolbar and you will see that the style has changed. Click on a paragraph to which you haven't applied a heading style and look at your Formatting Toolbar and you will see that it Word has assigned it the Normal style.
  4. You may have sub-headings and sub-sub-headings in your document and these also need to have a style assigned to them. Highlight your text and depress CTRL-ALT-2 to apply the Heading 2 style, and highlight text and press CTRL-ALT-3 to apply the Heading 3 style.

Separating the TOC from the rest of the Document

Now that your document has been properly formatted with styles, you're ready to create your Table of Contents. The first thing to do is to insert a "Next Page Section Break" so that you will have a page for your TOC. To do that, follow these easy steps:

  • Click on Insert.
  • Under Break type, select Page break.
  • Under Section break types, select Next page.

Assigning Page Numbers

Once you've created your page for your Table of Contents, you want to be sure that your page numbering for the rest of your document will not be disturbed by adding this page. To take care of that, make sure that your cursor is on your new page and follow the steps below.

  1. Click on View. Select Header and Footer.
  2. Your Header and Footer area now become visible. Your Header and Footer toolbar will also appear. If you don't readily see it, glance down at the bottom of your page and you should see it floating there. If you like, you can drag it up to the top and dock it with your other toolbars if that is more comfortable for you.
  3. Your Header and Footer toolbar to move from the Header to the Footer. Click on Switch between header and footer.
  4. Next, you'll need to click on "Same as Previous" to unlink the footer from the other footers in your document. Now you can add your page numbering in this footer. Most documents with a TOC use Roman numerals lower case for page numbering.
  5. Using your Header and Footer toolbar, click on the # icon which will is Insert Page Number. Next you will click on the # icon with a hand, which is Format Page Number.
  6. Using the spin arrow next to Number format, select the lowercase Roman numerals. Then click on Start at and you should see a lowercase Roman numeral one and click OK. You can then highlight the Roman numeral in your footer and depress your CTRL key and E which will center the page number. Once you have finished with that, click on Close on your Header and Footer toolbar.

Inserting the TOC into the Document

Ok. Now you're ready to insert your Table of Contents! Follow the steps below.

  • Click on Insert.
  • Select Reference.
  • Select Index and Tables.
  • Select the Table of Contents tab. The Index and Tables dialog box will appear. In the dialog box you can make choices regarding your TOC, such as whether or not you to use hyperlinks. In this case: if the reader clicks on a heading in your TOC, it will automatically take them to that place in your document.

Note that you can also click on Modify to make changes regarding Headings, etc.

Also note that when you change your Microsoft Word 2003 document, you need to update your table of contents to reflect new headings and/or page numbers. Just right-click on it and choose Update Fields. An Update Table of Contents dialog box may appear. If it does, select Update entire table and press OK. To see the screenshots for this article, click here.

Visit Carol's web site to learn more tips like this one!

Rate this article: 
Average: 5 (1 vote)