Next, head up to the Word toolbar (or the “Ribbon,” as Microsoft so adorably named it) and, from the Home tab, click the Styles button.
In the drop-down list that appears, select “Heading 1” to define your selected text as the first primary heading.
If your document has sub-headings, select the first one and repeat the steps above, this time choosing “Heading 2.” Repeat these steps as necessary and you’ll end up with something like the screenshot below.
Remember, you’re applying these styles to your actual document, not to a manually created table of contents you may already have.
When you have such a big document with chapters and subchapters it turns out to be very hard to navigate in the document searching for necessary information.
Luckily, Word allows you to create a table of contents, making it easy to refer to the relevant sections of your document, and therefore it is a must-do task for document writers.
Once you’ve added all of your desired headings and subheadings, place your cursor in the location where you’d like your automatically generated table of contents to appear.
I am sure that everyone who reads this article right now had to deal with a really long document in Microsoft Word at least once in their lives. Depending on the project, it might be dozens or even hundreds of pages long!
Click it to reveal a drop-down list of the various ways that Word can format your table for you.
Click one of the styles to choose it, and Word will automatically generate your table of contents in the location you specified.
Once there, click the References tab in the toolbar.
At the far left of the References tab you’ll see a button labeled Table of Contents.
Therefore, the first step to automatically generating a table of contents is to make sure that your document has the appropriate styles applied.