Tech Tip Tuesday (T3:06)
This week, we’ll build on T3:05 Microsoft Word Heading Styles to use Word’s built-in heading styles to create an automatic Table of Contents. Open the document you created last week, or read through the instructions again.
Insert a Table of Contents
Now, return to the top of your document and insert a page break. First, place your cursor in front of the words “Heading 1.” Press enter. This will place a paragraph before the first heading and give you room to work.
You can choose from the various built in table of contents, or define your own. Note how Word previews the Heading 1, 2 and 3 layout. Click on “Automatic Table 1” and watch what Word does automatically.
Word has used the Heading 1, 2 and 3 styles to create an automatic table of contents and give you the page numbers where those headings appear. If you move your mouse over the table, you will note that it appears to have a grey box around it, indicating that you are working with a field.
If you click inside the table of contents, Word will bring up an option box on the upper left hand corner of the table, providing you with editing and updating options.
I’ll show you how to use those in a minute.
Another benefit of the table is that it acts as hyperlink within your document, allowing you (or your reader) to quickly jump to a portion of the document. Say you want to edit the text under Heading 2 and add some additional points. Simply move your cursor of the Heading you want to navigate to, press CTRL and click with your mouse. You are instantly transported to that portion of your document.
While you are here, go ahead and add some text under heading two. Type “=rand(2)” and press enter to quickly enter some placeholder text. Do the same under Heading 3. Move to the next paragraph by pressing enter.
You probably guessed, but pressing CTRL ALT and the number of the style (1, 2, or 3) will automatically apply that number’s heading style. This shortcut only works up to heading style 3.
Now, press enter twice and add the word “Conclusion” to the document. Press CTRL ALT 1 to apply Heading 1 to the word “Conclusion.
The automatic Table of Contents for the various headings and sub headings in your document is only one of the benefits of using Word’s built-in heading styles.
If you find that you wanted to change Heading 2 after you initially drafted the document, you simply modify that style. That’s it. The changes are made everywhere that style is applied in the document. You make the change in one place and that change that will be reflected throughout the document. This allows for more consistency and less chance of formatting error.
This also helps you see the overall structure of your document. You might, on reviewing the Table of Contents, realize that you accidentally made a sub heading a heading or vice versa. This visual outline of your document can help you spot and fix the issue quickly.
Finally, if you use the headings to outline arguments sections, you can quickly read through your argument to see if the flow and layout is logical. If not, you can simply move one (or more) sections of your argument around without upsetting your entire document because the numbers will automatically update and you can easily update the Table of Contents.