Deliver organized work! Learn how to create a table of contents in Word step by step

Do you have any idea how to make a table of contents in Word? Surely you use Word for your work or study every day but are you taking advantage of all its features?

At first glance it looks like a blank page, but if you write really long texts and include a table of contents, your readers will thank you for it. therefore, today we will show you how to create a table of contents in Microsoft Word in seconds.

Word is the world’s leading word processor: it allows you to create, edit, customize and manage any digital document.

So that you no longer waste time typing by hand the headings and subheadings of your document, Word gives you the possibility to generate your table of contents and modify it with little effort and great results for the ultimate purpose of your text: to be read.

Let’s see what it is all about.

what is a table of contents?

The table of contents is a list of the elements of a document that is made once the work is finished. The table shows the name of each item (the title) and the page where it is located in the document.

It is recommended that the table of contents appears at the beginning of the document to guide the reading of those who are consulting the text and allow them to navigate through it using hyperlinks.

what is the difference between table of contents and table of contents?

The difference is that the table of contents is a list of keywords in the text, plus the number of the page on which the keyword is found .

When creating an index, these words are sorted alphabetically, allowing the reader to search for the most important terms quickly and easily. For this reason, it is usually placed at the end of a document or publication.

On the other hand, and as defined above, a table of contents in Word contains the titles of the topics and subtopics that make up the document.

Nowadays, both terms are often used interchangeably due to their similarities and the fact that they are both used to organize information in Word.

pasos para crear una tabla de contenidos

Source: DOC Player

what is the difference between a table of illustrations and a table of contents?

The table of illustrations is a listing of images, graphics, objects or any other type of illustration that is present in the document and the page number on which it is found.

For example, academic articles often include a table of illustrations towards the end, as they use a variety of diagrams, tables and images to illustrate and add value to their content.

The difference between table of contents and table of illustrations is that the former must always appear and the latter is optional. Although APA Standards do not require a table of contents in Word, some universities or academic institutions may require one.

Both types of tables are extremely useful. And now that you know how easy it is to make a table of contents in Word, we recommend that you also include tables of illustrations in your documents.

how to create a table of contents in Word in 2 steps?

This step-by-step guide to make a table of contents in Word is so simple that when you understand what it is and start applying it in your documents, you will think “why didn’t I do it before?

Having a good table of contents is an element that makes the difference in a text document, but making it manually can be a tedious task and give us a headache every time we need to make a modification afterwards.

If you have finished writing your text, revised it, added images, links and bibliography, you only need to insert the table of contents in Word.

Step 1: apply Word text styles to the document titles

The first thing to do is to organize your text: you need to apply Word styles so that the table of contents recognizes what is a title and what is not.

In the “Home ” tab you will see Word’s default styles. There you will have to select each title of your document and apply the corresponding styles.

estilos de microsoft word

If you prefer your headings to have a different look, font, size and even color, you can create your own custom styles .

To do this, open the “Stylesoptions menu from the bottom arrow of the toolbar. Once opened you can create your new style by clicking on the “New style” button.

modificar estilos de Word

And then you assign the new style a name, a font, a size, etc. In addition, you can indicate whether this style you are creating is based on the characteristics of another style that already exists.

crear estilos de texto en Microsoft Word

In this first step of sorting your text, you choose which hierarchy of headings you want to display. you can choose to display only headings 1 in Word’s table of contents or headings 1 and headings 2, for example.

Step 2: insert the table of contents

Position the mouse at the top of the document, so that the table of contents in Word is inserted at the top, and in the “References” tab select the “Table of Contents” option.

Three types of Microsoft Office default tables of contents will be displayed, from which you can choose the format you like the most or customize it to your liking.

Crear tabla de contenidos en word

If you select “Custom Table of Contents”, you will be able to choose whether to display page numbers or not, whether you want toadd hyperlinks to the section, what style of table you want to display according to your reader (something more classic or sophisticated), etc.

agregar hipervínculos a la tabla de contenidos en Word

you now have your table of contents created! You will see the page numbers already assigned to each title.

Tabla de contenidos en word final

how to update the table of contents in Word?

When you need to make a change, add more headings, remove a heading or modify it, you can update the table using the three dots above it .

According to Word’s support page, Word gives you two options: update the numbers or update the whole table, which you can choose from depending on your need and the change you have made.

If there is a title that is not shown in the table and you want it to appear, it is likely that it does not have the correct style assigned. All you have to do is apply the corresponding style and the table of contents will automatically include it.

Actualizar tabla de contenidos en word

what are the advantages of creating a table of contents in Word?

Imagine that you have just finished writing your entire document but your boss asks you to make a change in the structure of the text just moments before handing it in. breathe! Don’t panic.

Because you’ve automated it with Word’s table of contents, there’s no need to change page numberings by hand or modify section names.

Table of contents automation in Word allows you to:

Modify a title and have this change automatically reflected in the table of contents.
Add a new title in the body of the document, as it is automatically replicated in the table.
In case you decide to change the format of the titles, add color or another font, it will also be reflected in the table of contents.

in which documents should a table of contents be included?

Practically every text divided into sections in order to be read should include a table of contents to improve its comprehension. however, it cannot be missing when the document is long and/or is being read digitally.

Therefore, it is essential to have a table of contents in Word:

Monographs, theses, articles and academic or scientific manuals.
Books, ebooks or magazines of divulgation or of some specialty.
Extensive literary works.

Free resources to optimize your Microsoft Word documents

Creating a content guide in Word is one of the many features that this Microsoft program has to make your workday easier. There are many other tasks that you can optimize; therefore, we want to share with you some resources that will be very useful. The best of all is that they are free!

Work plan in Word format

do you need to start a project and have no idea how to begin? this work plan is your solution to give shape to those ideas you have in mind, capture them in a word document and take the first steps.

But what is a work plan? It is a key document in the ideation process of a project. Its main objective is to establish a guide to follow in order to know how to achieve a successful project. it serves almost the same function as a table of contents in Word!

Among other things, a work plan has these benefits:

It helps you establish a clear work path, with measurable objectives.
It allows you to rethink the phases of your project.
It helps you save time and avoid ambiguities or improvisations.

Steps to make a work plan in Word format

The process of creating a work plan format is quite simple and intuitive. Here are the steps to follow:

1. First, before you start transferring your information to the Word worksheet, it is advisable that you have a draft with the most important data of the project.

2. Then, you must create two tables in Word. The first one will have the activities of your project, and the second one will be the expected results of the project. These serve as indicators to evaluate your project.

3. The measures can vary according to the phases of your project, as well as the rows. The important thing is that you have as variables the activities in one table and the results in the other.

4. You can give a title to each phase of the project to make it more personalized.

and that’s it! You now have your work plan. Don’t forget to add a table of contents in Word to make it even more professional.

Sample business proposal in Word

A business proposal template can be of great help to close a contract with a potential client. so, download this free example of how to present a business proposal and go out and conquer the hearts of your clients.

Business proposals in Word are documents that help you prepare a sales proposal for a potential client. so if you are in the middle of an important bidding process, don’t hesitate any longer and download this business proposal sample.

In addition to preparing your winning pitch to impress investors, preparing a document, and its respective table of contents, in Word will give you great chances of winning that client.

Steps to make a business proposal

But how to make a business proposal in Word? It is very simple.

The first step is to download the business proposal template in Word and the second step, when you open the editable document, is to complete the following information:

Understanding the problem: in this first point you have to focus on explaining the customer’s problem or need. Be clear and concise with the information.
Proposed solution: explain what actions you would take to solve the customer’s problem. In this part, we have included a table for you to place the product feature and the benefit for the customer.
Pricing information: here you can build a price list detailing the value of each action and what would be the total cost with taxes. You will find a chart in the business proposal example so you can detail the costs.
Proposed schedule: in this part it is key that you detail through a Gantt chart or a calendar what the project activities will be and on what date they will be carried out.
Conclusion: this is where you bring out your inner salesperson and explain to the client that you are willing to resolve any outstanding doubts about the business proposal.
Terms and conditions: legal termsand conditions are an essential part of any business proposal. You must include all the remarks, requirements and rules to be taken into account when executing the project.
Appendix: in this last part you can add any document that is extensive and serves as a reinforcement of the proposal. Here, for example, you can add your Word table of contents.

propuesta comercial en word

Weekly appointment calendar in Word

have you been looking for a weekly calendar that really works for you? need to better organize your weekly activities? are weekly calendar apps for smartphone not going with you?

If you answered yes to all those questions, then download this free weekly calendar template in Word 2022. You can print it or use it digitally, and customize it the way you want.

The ability to make these types of documents is another advantage of Microsoft Word that you will love.

Steps to make a weekly agenda in Word

The first thing you must take into account to make a weekly agenda or calendar in Word or Excel is organization. So, how to get organized? follow these steps!

1. Before making your weekly calendar in Word, you have to define a time range in which you can schedule your meetings and activities. Try not to have the hours between each task too close together, since it is important that you have some time for yourself between each meeting (between 10 to 15 minutes to rest, practice your sales speech or just have a glass of water).

2. After defining your weekly schedules in the Word template, it is very important that you have the exact details of each activity: place, people involved in the event or task, contact with the person in charge and the topic to be discussed.

3. Finally, after setting up the schedules and gathering the relevant information for each task, the big step comes: editing the weekly calendar template with only the relevant information.

The great thing about using this editable Word document is that you can customize it as you like. modify the available schedules and block the hours or days in which you will be offline. Also, don’t forget to change the colors and logo of the weekly calendar according to your organization’s brand identity manual.

Now that you have mastered some functions such as creating a table of contents in Word, and added to the fact that you will have a weekly calendar to organize yourself, productivity and time management will no longer be a problem for you


As the saying goes, “it’s all in the details”. Remember that a well-presented, organized, neat and functional document for the reader speaks of the professional you are. and that is why taking note of the steps to create tables of contents in word is super important.

Now, every time you see a colleague creating a table of contents manually and trying to align the page numbers, share these simple steps with them to make their task easier.

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