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Inserting a table of contents using styles

Unless otherwise noted, all instructions and screenshots are from Microsoft Office for Windows.

One of the things I’m on a rant about these days is loooooong documents.  Complicated documents, like 20+ page contracts and appellate briefs and stuff like that.

Why?  Because they always seem to need special stuff inserted in them.  Like custom headers and footers.  And level-1 and level-2 and level-out-the-wazoo headings.  It’s enough to make your head spin.

But if you’ve got mad skills and you plan your document right, a lot of this stuff becomes easier.  Like putting in a simple table of contents, for example.

And if one of your mad skills is using the Styles feature to format your document headings, that’s going to make it way easier to pull together an automated table of contents.  Once you’ve marked each heading and subheading with the appropriate level style, those same styles can be the basic building blocks for  a table of contents that updates itself.  (How cool is that?)

Here, let me show you:

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Word 2002-2003

(Note: To get this full-screen, click the button in the lower-right-hand corner of the video player above.)


Word 2007-2010

(Note: To get this full-screen, click the button in the lower-right-hand corner of the video player above.)

See, that’s not so hard, is it?

Update: I ran across this: Modifying a TOC Style (Word 2007/2010) at a blog called Very detailed explanation of how to change the formatting of your Table of Contents (and even Table of Authorities).

by Deborah Savadra

I spend an inordinate amount of my time playing with computers and attempting to explain technology to lawyers and law office staff. It's not always easy, but someone's got to do it.

WOW – You read that whole post!

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  1. Thank you. I have a class of students who will be very happy when I share your post with them.