Did you know that it is possible to create an automatic and personalized summary on Microsoft Word in a few clicks? And yet, many people do not know how to go about it.
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Table of contents are essential tools to help you organize your document, insert page numbers and allow your readers to quickly find the information they are looking for, especially for documents with many pages. In this article, we explain in detail how to create, customize and modify a summary in Word, step by step.
Microsoft’s word processing software is one of the most widely used programs in the world. Not only because it is one of the first office software, it has evolved with the times and because it has benefited from Microsoft expertise to optimize the interface and features. With its famous ribbon interface, the tools are quickly accessible, allowing you to customize your document as you see fit.
Before you even create your summary
Before creating a table of contents, you must structure the content of your document using the appropriate heading styles. You should use the predefined heading styles in Word (Heading 1, Heading 2, etc.) and you can customize them as you see fit (bold, colors, alignment, size, etc.). To apply a heading style to a heading, select the text and click on the appropriate heading style in the “Home” tab. Note that it is possible to add new title styles. They allow you to prioritize your content with the most important topics in Title 1, and their subtitles in Title 2, and so on. Note that you can also find styles for citations, references, and create new ones according to your needs and tastes.
Place the cursor where you want to insert the table of contents and in the “References” tab, click on “Table of contents”, then select the style of table of contents you want. Word offers several styles of table of contents, such as “Auto Table of Contents” or “Classic Table of Contents”. If none of the table of contents styles provided are suitable, click “Insert Table of Contents” at the bottom of the list to display more options.
After inserting the table of contents, you can customize it by clicking on “Table of contents” in the “References” tab, then selecting “Customize the table of contents”. Here you can adjust the font, size, spacing, change the heading levels to include, and other settings for your table of contents.
If you modify the structure of your document (by adding, deleting or moving headings), you must update the table of contents to reflect the desired changes. Indeed, this is not automatic when you add a new title for example. To do this, click on the summary, then on “Update the field” in the contextual toolbar that is displayed. You can choose to update the entire table of contents or just the page numbers.
Well, that’s as simple as that ! No need to take training or watch complicated video tutorials. A well-designed table of contents will not only allow you to organize your document effectively, but also make it easier for your readers to read and navigate. Feel free to try these steps on your next Word document and see how an automatic summary can save you time and effort.
If you are looking to get Microsoft Word, be aware that this word processing software is part of the Microsoft Office office suite (perpetual license) or Microsoft 365 with subscription (allowing you to take advantage of any software upgrades), and includes also Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, and others depending on the edition chosen. It is compatible with Windows, MacOS, Android, iOS and online service.