Whenever you write a longer paper, particularly a thesis or dissertation, you\u2019ll need to include a table of contents. If you like doing things the slow way, you could type this out manually and painstakingly modify it every time you make a slight change to a subheading.\n\nHowever, there\u2019s an easier way: Use Microsoft Word\u2019s \u201cStyle\u201d options to create a table of contents that can be updated at the click of a button!\nHow to Modify Styles\nThe \u201cStyles\u201d menu can be found on the \u201cHome\u201d tab in MS Word. To create a table of contents, the styles we need are labeled \u201cHeading.\u201d MS Word comes with a number of default \u201cHeading\u201d styles (e.g., \u201cHeading 1,\u201d \u201cHeading 2\u201d). To customize these \u201cHeading\u201d styles:\n\n \tPick the \u201cHeading\u201d you want to change.\n \tRight-click and select \u201cModify.\u201d\n \tIn the new window that opens, pick the formatting options required.\n \tClick \u201cOK.\u201d\n\nAlternatively, you could apply formatting to one heading or subheading, select the formatted text, right-click the \u201cHeading\u201d style in the menu and select \u201cUpdate to Match Selection.\u201d This will change the style to match the highlighted text.\nApplying Your Headings\nTo apply customized headings, go through each heading and subheading in your paper and click the required style. If you change the \u201cHeading\u201d style after this, all the headings that use this style will be updated automatically.\n\nIt\u2019s often a good idea to distinguish between different headings and subheadings. You can do this by using a different \u201cHeading\u201d style for each level. For example, each chapter heading could be formatted using \u201cHeading 1\u201d and an 18pt font, while subheadings could use \u201cHeading 2\u201d and a 16pt font.\nCreating Your Table of Contents\nOnce you\u2019ve formatted your headings and subheadings, it\u2019s time to create a table of contents. On PC, follow these simple steps:\n\n \tPlace the cursor where you want your table of contents to appear.\n \tGo to the \u201cReferences\u201d tab.\n \tClick on \u201cTable of Contents.\u201d\n \tSelect \u201cAutomatic Table 1.\u201d\n\nThis will create an automatic table of contents (including a title saying \u201cContents\u201d) using the first three \u201cHeading\u201d styles. If you want to customize your table of contents, click \u201cCustom Table of Contents\u201d instead.\n\nOn Mac, the process is slightly different:\n\n \tPlace the cursor where you want your table of contents to appear.\n \tGo to the \u201cDocument Elements\u201d tab.\n \tClick on one of the options in the \u201cTable of Contents\u201d menu.\n\nBoth Mac and PC versions of MS Word feature an \u201cUpdate\u201d or \u201cUpdate Table\u201d button next to the \u201cTable of Contents\u201d menu. This allows you to quickly update your table of contents (either the whole thing or just the page numbers) after making amendments to your document.