How to Add & Update Table of Contents in Word

The table of contents makes it easy to get a quick overview and navigate to the page we want. Here is how to add and update the table of contents in Word.

Word is one of the easiest applications to create almost any kind of documents. It doesn’t matter whether you want to create a simple one-page document or a massive interlinked and stylized document; you can do that with Word. You have all the tools and options necessary to make the document however you want it to look.

If needed, you can even do things like watermarking, password protecting, document signing, etc., with just a few clicks. You need to know where to find the option, and you are good to go.

It is natural to categorize the document with heading and sub-headings when creating big documents. After adding headings and sub-headings, creating a table of contents is hugely helpful. It will make it easy to get a quick idea about the document and makes it easy to navigate to the relevant section with just a single click.

Thankfully, you don’t have to create a table of contents manually. Word has an excellent option to add a table of contents with just a single click. If you ever update the heading, you can also update the table of contents.

However, with the sea of options, finding the appropriate option to create a table of contents in Word can often be confusing. That is where this easy how-to guide comes into play.

So, without further delay, let me show you the steps to add and update the table of contents in Word with just a couple of clicks.

Add table of contents in Word

Adding a table of contents is as easy as selecting an option. Before proceeding forward, ensure you have at least a couple of headings in the document. Here is how to create and add a table of contents in Word.

  1. Open the Word document.
  2. Set the cursor where you want to add the table of contents.
  3. Go to the “Reference” tab.
  4. Click on the “Table of contents” option.
  5. Select the table style of choice.
  6. The table of contents is added to the Word document.
  7. Press “Ctrl + S” to save the document.

Same steps in a bit more details and screenshots:

First, open the Word document to add the table of contents. To do that, find the DOCX file in the File Explorer and double-click on it. Alternatively, open the Word application, find the file under the Recent section and click on it.

After opening the document, set the cursor where you want to add the table of contents. For example, if you’re going to add the table of contents at the top of the document, create a new line and set the cursor in that place.

Now, go to the “Reference” tab. This is where you find options like captions, indexes, citations, etc. Here, click on the “Table of Contents” option and select the “Style” you want. In my case, I’m choosing the “Automatic Table 1” style.

create and add table of contents in word

As soon as you do that, Word adds the table of contents where you set the cursor.

table of contents added in word

If you want to, you can change the table style any time you want. Click on the table and click the “File/Page” icon on the left corner. Choose the table of your choice from the list.

table of contents styles in word

That is all. It is that simple to add the table of contents to a Word document. Don’t forget to save the Word document. You can do that by pressing the “Ctrl + S” shortcut.

Update table of contents in Word

When you modify a heading or sub-heading, you must manually update the table of contents to reflect the correct heading and page numbers. When I say manually, I don’t mean you go and edit the contents; you just click a button, and Word will update the table of contents for you. Here is how to do it.

  1. Make the necessary change to the headings.
  2. Select the table of contents with your cursor.
  3. Go to the “References” tab.
  4. Click on the “Update table” option.
  5. With that, the table of contents is updated immediately.

Same steps with a screenshot:

First, open the Word document that has the table of contents. Next, go to the “References” tab and click on the “Update Table” option.

Alternatively, click on the table of contents block in the Word document and click the “Update Table” option appearing at the top of the block.

update table of contents in word

As soon as you click the option, Word will scan the document and update the table of contents to reflect modified headings and page numbers.

Remove table of contents in Word

Just as you can add the table of contents in Word, you can also remove the table of contents when you don’t need it. All you have to do is click a button, and you are good to go. Here is how to do it.

  1. Open the Word document
  2. Click on the table of contents block.
  3. Click the “File/Options” icon (page icon) on the table.
  4. Select the “Remove Table of Contents” option.
  5. With that, the Table of Contents is removed immediately.
remove table of contents in word

That is all. It is that simple to add a Table of Contents in Word.

I hope this simple and easy how-to guide helped you.

If you are stuck or need some help, comment below, and I will try to help as much as possible.

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