Many people think that creating a table of contents in Word is some mystical woo-woo amazing task that only a chosen few can figure out. But generating a basic table of contents is actually quite simple. The trick is that you need to format your text with styles.
A style lets you name a group of formatting attributes and apply them all at once. For example, if you want your headings to be bold Arial 12 point, rather than format each one individually, you create a style that has all those attributes in it. Then you apply the style to all your headings. Whether you realize it or not, every particle of text in a document is in fact formatted with a style: the Normal style.
Word comes with a number of built-in styles other than Normal. It has styles named Heading 1, Heading 2 and so forth up to Heading 7. Even if you normally don't use styles, you want to learn about the heading styles to create a table of contents. To apply a built-in heading style, place your cursor in the text you want to change and choose the style name from the Style drop-down on the Formatting toolbar.
After you have applied the built-in heading styles to your text, you can generate a table of contents. The concept is simple. Word takes the text in the paragraph that has the heading style, figures out what page it is on to create a table of contents entry.
So to make Word generate the table of contents, place your cursor at the point you want Word to insert it. Then in Word 2000 choose Insert | Index and Tables (in Word XP select Reference | Index and Tables) and click the Tables of Contents tab. Click the Formats drop-down to change the appearance and click the Show Levels number to change the number of heading levels Word will use to generate the table of contents. Click OK and Word magically creates the table of contents.