Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Word 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Word, click here: Creating a Table of Contents from Heading Levels.

Creating a Table of Contents from Heading Levels

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated August 29, 2020)


If you are writing a long document or a book, you may want to create a Table of Contents (TOC) for your document. The easiest way to create a TOC is to use heading levels, as defined by the Word styles. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Position the insertion point where you want the TOC inserted.
  2. Choose Index and Tables from the Insert menu. (In Word 2002 or Word 2003, choose Reference from the Insert menu, then choose Index and Tables.) Word displays the Index and Tables dialog box.
  3. Make sure the Table of Contents tab is selected. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Table of Contents tab of the Index and Tables dialog box.

  5. If you are using Word 97, choose From Template in the Formats list. In later versions of Word, make sure the Formats drop-down list at the bottom of the dialog box is set to From Template.
  6. Using the Show Levels control, specify how many heading levels should be included in the TOC.
  7. Click on OK.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (37) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Word (Word 2007 and later) here: Creating a Table of Contents from Heading Levels.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...


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What is one less than 4?

2020-09-10 04:55:08


The simplest way to get chapter TOCs is:
1. Bookmark the first chapter with bookmark name such as chapt1. Note that bookmark names are case sensitive.
2. At the place where you want the want the TOC for chapter 1 create a TOC for the whole document in the usual way.
3. Click ALT + F9 to display the field code (F9 is function key 9). The result for a three level TOC will look like:
{ TOC \o "1-3" \h \z \u }
4. Add a bookmark switch so that the field code looks like:
{ TOC \o "1-3" \h \z \u \b chapt1 }
5. Repeat steps 1-4 for each chapter with bookmark names chapt2, chapt3…
6. ALT + F9 to display the resultant TOCs
If you don’t want the chapter heading itself to appear in the TOC change the parameter of the \o switch to “2-3”

2020-09-09 08:08:34

Jim Harris

Mr. Wyatt,

You have been a lifesaver to, and time-saver for, me. I have a TOC question that I'm sure you can answer. Can I create chapter TOCs instead of one TOC for all the chapters. For example, Chapter 1 would have it's own TOC listing its subsections. Chapter 2 would have its own. Etc.

Thanks again for your help!

2020-08-30 19:11:14


Re Updating the ToC (e.g., to add/remove a style or to change a ToC level).
Here's what works for me:

1. Go to the ToC.
2. Press Alt+F9. This displays the ToC field code.
3. Right-click within the code (the curly brackets); choose Edit Field.
4. Click Table of Contents.
5. Click Options.
6. Make your modifications.
7. Click OK twice.
8. Click OK at the prompt "Replace this table of contents?"
9. Press Alt+F9 again. This displays the ToC field result.

2020-08-29 09:43:24

Mike Riley

I have never been able to find the answer to a very important missing tool: UPDATE Table of Contents. I'm not referring to the F9 function that allows you to update only the pages, or choose to recreate the entire Contents. No, I'm talking about when you --for example-- need to add another level that you may have missed or needed when you first created the ToC. You cannot simply go into the settings and add it: you must recreate the whole thing by reselection which levels you want. Otherwise Word will give you the default ToC plus you new addition. So much extra work, especially when you have also created Styles for each level. A major flaw existing for decades.

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