Table of contents in Word

The other evening I got more involved in Word creating a table of contents than I ever wanted.

Rather than waste all this knowledge I decided to write it down.  Word has several features that make building a table of contents a snap, but they also have some advanced features that make it difficult.  There are many different things written about how to insert TOC and some of the manipulation, but nothing that goes into detail so that you may be able to resolve some of your issues.  Although I do not work with documents all the time (I am a techie), I first used Word Perfect to generate a TOC for a document I was importing from a mainframe computer in about 1986.  I loved this feature.

Let’s start with the easy way.  When you format your document you can use the Header 1, Header 2 and Header 3 styles.  Doing this will setup a three level table of contents.  Now if you insert a table of contents at the beginning of the document the contents will be placed in the TOC with the page number.  The beauty of using this feature is when you make changes and the page numbers change they change in your TOC as well.

Now let’s get a little trickier. If you do not want to reformat Header, 1, 2 and 3 to display the way you want, you can go into the options of your table of contents and use any of your styles for the different levels of your TOC.

Now let’s get really into TOC. Now let’s say you want absolute control of your table of contents.  You want to place the entries where you want.  You want the text of the TOC entry exactly what you want.  You have this power in Word as well.  You can insert a field code in your document where you want an entry in your table of contents.  The field you want is the TC code.  When you do this you can specify the text of the entry, and the level in the Table of Contents.  This is the way some of the programs that generate documents for you.  Say you want to write a program that allows you to write HR documents.  You can control the format of the text and easily insert a TC code where you want with the text you want and the document is formatted correctly.  The difficulty comes in when you want to add something to the table of contents in one of these documents.  All field codes, including the TC to mark a TOC entry, are not visible.  If you reveal the formatting codes, field codes are still not visible.  You need to reveal the hidden text, make sure and display field codes.  Now we can see these field codes.  You will see something like {TC “TOC Entry”\1 2} (Table of Contents Entry called TOC entry on page one this is a level 2 entry).  Now you are in control of these table of contents entries.  You can move them, update the text.  Unfortunately I have not found anything in Word to edit the entries, but fortunately these are pretty easy to read.

Of course this all changes in Word 2007.

I hope this can help someone else.

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