Building a Table of Contents Using Custom Styles

Dennis Faas's picture

In my last article, we talked about generating a table of contents and updating it. What if you don't want to use Word's built-in heading styles for a table of contents? Perhaps you have created your own styles, such as OutlineLevel1, OutlineLevel2, or OutlineLevel3, and you wish to use these styles in the table of contents. You can use a combination of built-in and user-defined styles when generating the table of contents.

Generate A Table of Contents Using Custom Styles

  • Open a document that has been formatted with customized styles.  
  • Place the insertion point in the document where you want to insert the table of contents.  
  • From the Insert menu, choose Index And Tables, and then select the Table of Contents tab.  
  • Click Options.
  • The Table of Contents Options dialog box appears.   Locate the customized styles in the list of available styles and assign each a TOC level by typing a number in the TOC Level box.  
  • Click OK to close the Table of Contents Option dialog box. The Index and Tables dialog box appears.

The Table of Contents feature generates a field, not actual text; this may make the table of contents appear shaded. The shading is displayed on-screen and does not print. To remove the shading from the Tools menu, choose Options, and then select the View tab. Select Never from the Field Shading drop-down list to remove any shading in the document, or select When Selected to have the shading appear only when you click in the table of contents.

On some occasions, you may not see the table of contents, but instead see some strange characters that look like {TOC\o "1-3"}. When this happens, you're seeing the field codes that create the table of contents, not the results of the field codes. To view the table of contents again, press Alt+F9 to toggle the field codes in the document.

In my next article, we will cover updating your table of contents.

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