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Automatic Table of Contents in Word 2007

Your book is written, edited, formatted and all that is left to do is create the table of contents. Word 7 has an automatic function for doing just that. However, your document must be setup properly for the table of contents function to create your table of contents correctly.

For the titles, subtitles, headings, whatever you want to call them, they must be associated with the heading styles in the Styles section in order for them to be included in the table of contents that Word 7 will create.

Under the Home tab there is a section marked Styles. Across the top in the Styles box you see sample type with the style listed below it. On the top line, the most common styles are shown -- Normal, Heading 1 and Heading 2. Also on the top line is No Spacing, which will remove the extra spacing between lines that Word 7 automatically includes. Depending how many other styles you may want on your document, you can click on the down arrow on the right to see additional styles that are available. For the automatic table of contents, only the styles Heading 1, Heading 2, and Heading 3 are included.

Before creating the table of contents make sure all your headings are correctly associated with Heading 1, 2, or 3 on the style section. Also insert page numbers in your document. This is done under the Insert tab. In the Header & Footer section you can insert your page numbers and choose the format and location for them on the page.

You are now ready to create your table of contents. Make sure that your cursor is located in the place you want your table of contents to be. This would be a blank page in front of all pages that you want to have listed on it. Choose the References tab and on the left is the Table of Contents section. Click on the little down arrow in the Table of Contents drop down menu and you will be able to see the two automatic format choices. Click on the format you prefer and watch the table of contents appear on the page.

Review the table of contents to make sure all your headings are included. This is a good way to double check the consistency of heading and style use. You can select the table and make changes to it, such as adjusting the line spacing.

For this article I used the first draft of a book as a test subject and went through applying heading styles to the headings to see how this function would work. After the table of contents was created, I noticed that there were inconsistencies in the capitalization of the headings. Although I was tempted to fix the headings on the table of contents itself, I would still have to go through the whole document and make the changes again. Then I noticed that neat little function called Update Table, so I had to check that out. Worked like a charm! Only I didn't change the titles, at least not yet, what I changed was the pagination. In every book Chapter 1 should start on page number one. But that is another article.

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