The good thing about Automatic Table of Content is that you can effortlessly update it automatically to reflect changes in the document without typing anything as in when you are doing it manually.

You may need to update Table of Content for many reasons.

The most likely reasons include changes in the document by moving a chapter or two, inserting and deleting the body text or formatting body text with Heading styles which may affect the document page numbering.

This means that you need to update your Table of Content when the headings have changed or when some content moves to a different page (because you added or removed certain things from the document)

There are four methods to update Table of Content in word (at least to my knowledge).

In today’s quick tips, you’ll learn all the four approaches to Update table of content in word.

Option 1: Update Table of Content shortcut (F9)

  • Click the Table of content to select it (It becomes grayed when selected)
  • Press the F9 function key.
press the F9 function key

(The Update Table of Content dialog box appears from which you have two options)

Table of Content dialog
  • Choose option 1 to Update page numbers only if none of the headings have changed, but just the page numbers; OR
  • Choose option 2 to Update entire table if more substantial changes were made to your document – like headings added or removed, or additional paragraphs formatted with heading styles for inclusion in the TOC.
  • Click OK

NOTE: The entries of Table of Contents are fully editable: you can insert text and paragraphs between them, change the entry titles or page numbers, and even delete the leading dots. If you choose to update page number only (the first option), all changes you make manually will be kept. But if you choose to update the entire table (the second option), it rebuilds which will discard any changes you made manually.

When you edit Table of Content to include or exclude certain TOC features such as leading dots or page numbers, Word may prompt you whether you are sure to replace the table with your new changes. Click OK to accept changes.

Rplace this Table of Content?

Option 2: Update Table of Content in Reference

Another place to go to update table of content in word is the reference tab.

Without further ado, below are the quick steps.

  • Click the Table of content to select it (It becomes grayed when selected)
  • Go to Reference>Table of Content>Update Table
To to Reference>Table of Content>Update table

(The Update Table of Content dialog box appears from which you have two options)

Update Table of Content dialog
  • Choose option 1 to Update page numbers only if none of the headings have changed, but just the page numbers; OR
  • Choose option 2 to Update entire table if more substantial changes were made to your document – like headings added or removed, or additional paragraphs formatted with heading styles for inclusion in the TOC.
  • Click OK

Option 3: Using the update bottom above the TOC object

  • Click the Table of content to select it (It becomes grayed when selected)
  • Click the Update Table button located above the Table of Content object
Update Table above the TOC object

(The Update Table of Content dialog box appears from which you have two options)

Update Table of Content dialog
  • Choose option 1 to Update page numbers only if none of the headings have changed, but just the page numbers; OR
  • Choose option 2 to Update entire table if more substantial changes were made to your document – like headings added or removed, or additional paragraphs formatted with heading styles for inclusion in the TOC.
  • Click OK

Option 4: Update TOC by Right-Clicking

  • Right-click any of the Table of Content fields and select Update field.
Right-click inside TOC and select Update Field

(The Update Table of Content dialog box appears from which you have two options)

Update Table of Content dialog
  • Choose option 1 to Update page numbers only if none of the headings have changed, but just the page numbers; OR
  • Choose option 2 to Update entire table if more substantial changes were made to your document – like headings added or removed, or additional paragraphs formatted with heading styles for inclusion in the TOC.
  • Click OK

Thanks for reading my tips.