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Take tables of contents (TOCs) to the next level
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Take tables of contents (TOCs) to the next level

Add formatting to a TOC

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We’ve done some customizing, but what about making specific changes to font styles or margins, things like that? In this video, you’ll see how to add formatting to a table of contents.

Format the text in your table of contents

  1. Click REFERENCES > Table of Contents > Custom Table of Contents.

  2. In the Table of Contents dialog box, click Modify. If the Modify button is grayed out, change Formats to From template.

  3. In the Styles list, click the level that you want to change, and then click Modify.

  4. In the Modify Style dialog box, make the formatting changes that you want, and then click OK.

  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 for all the levels that you want to display in your table of contents.

Word will remember these customizations each time you update the table of contents (REFERENCES > Update Table).

Want more?

Introduction to Tables of Contents (TOCs)

Format or customize a table of contents

Advanced tables of contents

To add formatting to a Table of Contents, we’ll start by adding it to one line. Let’s select this line and change the Font Style to Century Gothic, and the Font Color to blue.

Notice that after we add the formatting, the rest of the level 1 text changes to match.

So, why does that happen? Well, Word uses three things to create an automatic table of contents: first, it takes the options, we chose in movie 1; grabs all the text in the document with Heading Styles; and finally formats the table of contents text with the built-in TOC Styles. Let’s take a look at these TOC Styles.

Click the HOME tab and the Styles dialog box launcher.

The Styles pane shows the built-in Heading Styles used in the document.

But down here, you’ll see a bunch of these styles called TOC 1, TOC 2, and so on.

These are the styles that Word uses to format the text in the table of contents.

By default, Headings 1, 2 and 3 are formatted with TOC styles 1, 2 and 3, respectively.

So what all this means is, if you want to change the format of the table of contents text, you need to change the TOC styles. And Word does that by default when you change one of the lines.

That’s why all of the level 1 lines changed when we added the formatting, because the TOC 1 Style automatically updated.

Now, I’ll select this level 2 text, which I know is formatted with the TOC 2 Style.

I’ll remove the Italics and add Bold. And the TOC 2 Style automatically updates.

Now because the formatting was changed in the TOC styles, we can right-click the Table of Contents and update the table at any time, and we know that the formatting will always be the same.

Let’s take it one step further and click the arrow next to TOC 1 in the Styles pane, and click Modify.

This Modify Style dialog box has the most options for changing a style.

Click Format, and Tabs. And let’s change the Tab stop .

In a TOC style, the tab stop determines the location of the page number. Type 5, click Set, and Clear the old tab stop.

Now go to Paragraph and let’s add a Left indent of 1 inch. And click OK.

We’ll need to do the same thing to the TOC 2 style. Click Modify. Then, click Format, and Tabs. Change the tab stop to 5 and Clear the old tab stop. Also, click Right Align.

Then, in Paragraph, add a Left indent of 1.15 inches – a little bit farther to the right than the TOC 1 level. Click OK, and OK. We’ll also change the formatting for the TOC 3 and 4 Styles.

So now you have total control over the look of your automatic table of contents.

View the next course, Advanced tables of contents, to find out how to get more control over what goes into your table of contents.

For more information, check out the links in the course summary.

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