Previously, I have explained the importance of developing headings and consistent contents pages to assist in writing longer pieces of work. In this post, I will explain how to go about doing this, using Microsoft Word 2007, to automatically generate a contents page. But the same can be achieved using later versions of word such as Word 2010, or Word 2013.
The first step in generating automatic contents pages is to become familiar with the ribbon at the top of the page. Under the home tab, on the right hand half of the ribbon, you will see a selection of options for text, including Heading 1, Heading 2, Heading 3 and Title.
Reserve Heading 1 for the names of your chapters as it is much easier to generate an automatic contents page with Heading 1 than it is for the Title setting. Experiment with the characteristics you like and keep them consistent throughout your work.
One you have the layout of the headings that you are happy with, click on the references tab. On the far left of the ribbon, you will see the ‘Table of Contents’ icon. Click the icon and a drop down menu will become available. Choose the layout you prefer. A Table of Contents will automatically be generated, and displayed according to your selection of Headings in the document.
If you have forgotten something, and add headings later, click anywhere in the table of contents, and click “update table”. This is particularly handy when you are merging multi-chapter documents, and making sure that the formatting of a large manuscript is consistent:
Any updated or new headings in the document will now be added into the contents page:
And it really is as simple as that.
Perfect for developing contents pages for reports, theses and other documents which require headings.