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 in 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.

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.

Free Printable Table of Contents Templates

How to type a table of contents manually?

You will have to type the entries to be contained in the TOC if you choose to use this option. You have to use the tabs to place dotted lines or dot leaders between each of the entries and the page numbers. If you are in a hurry, the automatic option will be the fastest. You should follow the below steps in order to make a table of contents manually;

  • At first, type the entry.
  • Press the tab key. Then, for the first entry, type the page number.
  • Choose the tab stop character. Just click the Home tab if you can’t locate the tab stop character. After that, click on the show or hide in the paragraph group.
  • Go to the paragraph dialog box launcher on the page layout tab.
  • Click tabs.
  • Type your preferred location of the page number under the tab stop position.

At the top of the vertical scrollbar, click the view ruler button if you want to view the ruler in order for you to type the right-margin location.

  • Right under alignment, click.
  • Click on your preferred option under the reader and then click OK.
  • Press the enter key. Then, type the next entry.
  • For the second and subsequent entry, press the tab key and proceed to type the page number.
  • For the rest of the TOC, repeat this process till its completion.

Keep in mind that you will need to automatically update the TOC if you have to make changes to the headings or pages in your document.

Although the second-level headings within the sections or chapters 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. 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.

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;

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

How to automatically make a TOC Word?

Using the built-in heading styles is the easiest way to create a TOC. You could also make a table of contents automatically on the basis of the option that you have selected. You may assign the TOC levels to the individual text entries alternatively.

By employing built-in heading styles, marking entries:

  • Choose the text that you want to display in the table of contents.
  • Go to the home tab and then specifically on the Styles group and click the style of your choice.

Click the arrow to expand the quick style gallery if you don’t locate the style that you prefer. You can proceed to press CTRL+SHIFT+S in case this doesn’t prove to be helpful. This will open the Apply Styles task panel. Under the Style name in this section, you can click on your preferred option.

Creating a TOC from the galley:

For the table of contents, mark the entries. Now, you will be ready to build one by following the steps below;

  • For TOC, click at the preferred location and this is mostly at the starting of the document.
  • Go to the References tab and then in the table of contents group click on the TOC. After that, click on the TOC style that you want to apply.

Creating a custom TOC:

  • In the TOC group on the References tab, click the TOC and go to click Insert Table of Contents.
  • Make the following alterations in the Table of Contents dialogue box;
    1- Under general, enter the number that you want in the box next to Show Levels in order for you to change the number of heading levels to be displayed in the TOC.
    2- Click on a different format in the Formats list to alter the overall look of your TOC. By checking in the Print Review and the Web Preview areas¸ you can see what your choice would look like.

The line that appears between the entry texts and the page numbers, if you want to make changes to them just click on the option in the Tab leader list.

  • Click on Modify to make changes to the way heading levels are displayed in the TOC. Click on the level that you want to make changes in the style dialog box and then click Modify. You can make changes to the font, the size, and the amount of identification in the Modify Style dialog box.
  • Just click on Options in order for you to use the custom styles in the TOC and undertake the following steps;
    1- Locate the style that you applied to the headings in your document under the Available styles section.
    2- Next to style name, under the TOC level, type a number from one to nine to show the level that you want the heading style to display. Delete the TOC level numbers for the built-in styles in case you want to only use the custom styles.

For each of the heading styles that you want to include the TOC, you could repeat the two steps above.

  • Finally, click on Ok.
  • Choose a TOC that fits the document type;
    1- For a Print document: it is good to create a TOC in which the entry lists both the heading and the page number where that heading will appear in case one is making a document that will have to be printed for others to read. Your readers go to the page that they intent to get the section.
    2- For an Online Document: one can format the entries to create hyperlinks for a document that will be read online or in soft copy. By simply clicking on the entry in the TOC, the readers will then go to the preferred section.

Updating the TOC:

You need to make alterations to your TOC to reflect an updated version of the document if you happened to delete or add some other sections to your TOC. You can follow the below steps to update a TOC;

  • In the TOC group on the References tab just click on the Update Table.
  • Next, click on Update page numbers or Update entire table.

Deleting a table of contents:

  • Again, in the TOC group on the References tab click on Table of Contents.
  • By clicking on Remove Table of Contents, you will be done.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

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.

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