Edit a Table of Contents (TOC) in Word by Adding or Changing Heading Levels

by Avantix Learning Team | Updated May 10, 2022

Applies to: Microsoft® Word® 2013, 2016, 2019, 2021 or 365 (Windows)

If you have created a custom or automatic table of contents (TOC) in a Word document, you can add heading levels to the TOC. You can add or edit levels using built-in heading styles or use custom styles as levels.

Recommended article: How to Create a Table of Contents in Word

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Adding built-in heading styles to a table of contents

If you have created a table of contents using built-in heading styles (such as Heading 1, Heading 2, etc.), you can easily add heading levels.

To add built-in heading styles to a table of contents:

  1. Click in the table of contents.
  2. Click the References tab in the Ribbon and click Table of Contents in the Table of Contents group. A drop-down menu appears.
  3. Select Custom Table of Contents. A dialog box appears.
  4. In the Show Levels box, enter the number of levels you want to include in the table of contents (such as 4).
  5. Click OK. A dialog box appears asking if you want to replace the table of contents.
  6. Click OK.

The Table of Contents dialog box appears as follows with 3 heading levels:

Custom table of contents dialog box in Word with multiple heading levels.

Adding other styles as levels in a table of contents

Although it's easier to use built-in heading styles to create a table of contents, you can use other styles (such as custom styles) in a table of contents.

To add other styles as levels to a table of contents:

  1. Click in the table of contents.
  2. Click the References tab in the Ribbon and click Table of Contents in the Table of Contents group. A drop-down menu appears.
  3. Select Custom Table of Contents. A dialog box appears.
  4. Click Options. A dialog box appears.
  5. In the TOC level column, enter the number you want to use beside each style you want to include in the table of contents. For example, enter 1 beside the style you want to pick up in the first level of the table of contents.
  6. Delete any unnecessary numbers in the TOC level column.
  7. Click OK.
  8. Click OK. A dialog box appears asking if you want to replace the table of contents.
  9. Click OK.

In the following example, two custom styles are included in a table of contents:

Table of contents options to add custom styles in a table of contents.

You can continue to apply styles in your document and then right-click in the table of contents and select Update Field to update the table of contents. If you have used custom styles, you may need to go through the above process again to ensure that the correct styles are included in the updated table of contents.

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Summary
How to Add or Edit Heading Levels in a Table of Contents in Word
Article Name
How to Add or Edit Heading Levels in a Table of Contents in Word
Description
If you have created a custom or automatic table of contents (TOC) in a Word document, you can add heading levels to the TOC. You can add or edit levels using built-in heading styles or use custom styles as levels.
Author
Publisher Name
Avantix Learning

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