How to create multiple tables of contents in the same Word document


It sounds complicated, but it’s not! If your main Table of Contents contains a lot of entries, you may like to add to each of your main sections a smaller table of its own contents to help your readers refresh their memory and gain a better orientation.

First, you need to create a distinct Word bookmark for each of your sections that will host their own ToC. Go to Outline view, select only headings and hide body text. Select all headings that belong to your first section for which you’d like a partial ToC, and Insert a bookmark (you can find the Insert bookmark command easily with Command Search, as you know).

Give a name that resembles the section’s title, making sure it won’t contain spaces. For instance, if your section is about Market Economies, you can name this bookmark MarketEconomies. Repeat the same steps for each section that will host its own partial ToC. Then go to your main ToC and press Alt+F9 (or right click and select the option Toggle Field Codes), to let Word show your ToC’s field code instead of the actual table. Field codes are technical descriptions that Word interprets to form the structure and contents of ToCs. Here is an example:

{ TOC \o “1-5” \u }

After the field code is revealed, copy and paste it wherever you want your first section’s partial ToC to appear, normally at the start of the section. Then add to this code the name of the section’s bookmark as the value of a new “b” switch. For “Market Economies”, the example mentioned above, your code would become:

{ TOC \o “1-5” \u b\ MarketEconomies }

Press again Alt+F9 (or right click and select the option to Toggle Field Codes). Right click inside the ToC and select to update. The partial ToC for this section should appear in all its glory! If your document contains many Tables of Contents, you don’t need to update them one by one before you create a PDF version. Go to Options > Display > Printing options, and let Word update all fields before printing. This auto-update includes also your Indexes, any chapter titles inserted automatically in headers, etc.

You can also update all your fields, including Tables of Contents, anytime manually using a keyboard shortcut, after you select the whole document (Ctrl+A). For each of your ToCs the program asks if you want to update page numbers or rebuild the entire table; answer according to changes you’ve made. The safest choice, especially after a lot of editing, would be to rebuild the entire tables, just in case you’ve edited some chapter title and forgot it. To stay on the current page and avoid losing your focus, after a manual update finishes do not use the keyboard, use your mouse to click on the page. This deselects the document and gives focus to the current page.

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