Free Printable Table of Contents Templates [Word, PDF]

sample word document with table of contents

A table of contents template is a list of all the sections or chapters or titles or brief descriptions along with the beginning page numbers. It is usually included at the start of every written work. However, sometimes referred to as a list of contents, contents, and TOC.

The use of a table of contents in any written document aspires the reader to quickly find out the desired content. Moreover, it can be found everywhere like books, dissertations, magazines, newsletters, blogs, and articles.

There are several types of table of contents. It depends on the nature of the written content. However, mostly the table of contents is limited to the first-level heading. You should also check the savings goal tracker sheet.

Free Printable Table of Contents Templates

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the table of contents?

The table of contents is an arranged listing of the documents, chapters, and sections, and their respective page numbers are mentioned in front of them. Readers could allow looking at your table of contents page easily, and instantly understanding how your paper is arranged. Moreover, it allows the readers to skip any irrelevant sections or sub-section.

However, a good table of contents must be precise, easy to read, perfectly formatted, and completed last so that it is 100% accurate. You can also complete it manually, various word processing tools like MS Word helps you to format your table of contents.

What purpose table of contents serves?

The table of contents generally serves the following purposes;

  1. It provides readers an overview of the document’s contents and organizations.
  2. It allows the users to go directly to a particular section of a document.
  3. It helps to manage the reader’s expectation of any academic essay or thesis right from starting.

What should be included in a Table of Contents?

The table of contents should mention all front matter, main content, and back matter. It includes the headings, subheadings, and page number of all chapters and bibliography. Examples of chapter names are executive summary, abstract, introduction, project description, marketing plan, summary, and conclusion.

The formatting of the table of contents depends on the academic field. For example, in the sciences, your table of contents includes subheadings on methodology, data results, discussion, and conclusion. However, you should keep in mind consistency and accuracy while writing the table of contents.

Where do I put a table of contents?

The table of contents mostly available on a page right at the starting of an academic writing project. It generally comes after the title page and acknowledgments, but it must appear before the introductory page of a writing project. The starting position of an academic piece of writing is common for all academic projects.

How do you create a table of contents in MS Word?

Here we will discuss how you create a table of contents in MS Word;


The first step is to apply the heading styles. Styles also perform another significant purpose; add a hidden layer of organization and structure to your document. When you apply a heading style, it will tell the Word that you are going to start a new section of your document.

To apply a heading style, choose the text you want to format. Then, on the home tab in the Styles group select the desired heading.


The next step is to insert the table of contents. On the ribbon go to the references, and then click on the table of contents command. From the menu that appears choose the built-in table and the table of contents will appear in your document.

A table of contents also makes links for each section that allows you to go to different sections of your document. You just press the ctrl key on your keyboard and click to go to any part.


If you want to edit or add something to your document, select the table of contents. Then, click the update table and in the dialog box select the update entire table. Hence, the table of contents will be updated.

Although the second level headings within the sections or chapter can also be included. Moreover, some written work also includes the third level headings in the table of contents, but it isn’t recommended by the professionals.

The table of contents template is very useful. These templates are available for all types of table of contents. The professional writing tools such as MS Word have a preset tool of the table of contents. The key feature of these templates is their ability to automatically pull out all the required data from the whole content.

Let’s suppose someone has written an article of 50 pages. That includes 10 first-level headings and 30-second level headings. The user can simply choose the desired template of table contents to use. Just on a click, a table of content will be created involving all the desired details opted while selecting the template.

Moreover, different apps, software, and plugins are available to create the table of contents for the content written on the blog site.

Formats of Table of Contents Templates

There are several formats available to create a table of contents template. The user can select the best one based on the nature of the content. The details have to be included in the table of contents usually depends on the length of writing.

Usually, it is recommended to include a table of contents on a written document if it has ten or more pages.

The standard practice of the publishers is to include the table of contents at the beginning right after the title and copyrights page. However, in journals, the abstract is also written before the table of content. You may also like a memorandum of understanding template.

Best Table of Contents Examples

Moreover, the list of figures, list of tables, and the preface must be written after the table of contents.

The following are the elements of the table of contents templates created using MS word. One can choose any combination of the below to make a customized table of contents.

  • Level of Headings (Up to 9)
  • Format (Simple, Classic, Formal, Fancy, Modern)
  • Font (Style and Size)
  • Page Number
  • Hyper-Links
  • Alignment
  • Tab Leader (Periods, Dots, Continuous Line)

The standard practice is to make a printable table of contents includes two levels of headings, period leaders, page numbers, right-aligned, and simple format.

However, the overall format and location of the page number can be selected by the publisher keeping in view the overall graphics of the written content.

Also, normally the page number is written after the text separated by the use of tab leaders. However, a table of contents having page numbers before the text can be seen in the books.

Moreover, the books that involve the content written by different authors must include the name of authors along with the title and page number.

The table of contents for digital media usually uses the hyperlinks technique instead of page numbers. One can simply click on the text to navigate to the content.

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