Updating a Table of Contents

Dennis Faas's picture

In my last article I discussed building a table of contents using custom styles. This article will show you how to build on that information.

As you continue to edit your document and add headings, you'll periodically need to update the table of contents. As noted in the preceding section, the table of contents is a field, meaning that Word created it for you based on the styles in your document.

Word gives you four ways to update a table of contents, so choose the method that works best for you:

  • Shortcut menu. Alternate-click anywhere in the table of contents and choose Update Field from the shortcut menu.  
  • Keyboard. Click anywhere in the table of contents and press the F9 key on the keyboard.  
  • Update selected text. Select the text you want to update, and then press F10 to update all fields in the selected region. This method works well when you have additional fields in the document, such as cross-references, indices, and other tables.  
  • Update when printing. From the Tools menu, choose Options, and then choose the Print tab. Select Update Fields in the Printing Options section. This updates the table of contents as well as all other fields every time you print the document.   Regardless of how you choose to update the table of contents, Word opens an Update Table of Contents dialog box.

You have two choices when you update the table of contents:  

  • Update Page Numbers Only. Word repaginates the document and updates any page numbers that have changed during editing. Any manual editing or formatting in the table of contents is preserved.
  • Update Entire Table. Word updates the table of contents headings and the page numbers. If you have manually edited the table of contents by adding or deleting text, the manual changes in the table of contents are lost.
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