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Microsoft Word for Dissertations

Helps you use Microsoft Word for your dissertation. Topics include: formatting page numbers, using chapter templates, footnotes, images, and figures.

Page Contents

Learn how to:

  • Create an Automatic Table of Contents
  • Create Automatic Lists of Figures, Tables and Equations
  • Including the Appendix in the Table of Contents

Automatic Table of Contents

An automatic Table of Contents uses Styles to keep track of page numbers and section titles for you automatically. Microsoft Word can scan your document and find everything in the Heading 1 style and put that on the first level of your table of contents, put any Heading 2’s on the second level of your table of contents, and so on.

If you want an automatic table of contents you need apply the Heading 1 style to all of your chapter titles and front matter headings (e.g. “Dedication” and “Acknowledgements”).  All major headings within your chapters should be use the Heading 2 style.  All subheadings should use Heading 3, and so on.

If you have used Heading styles in your document, creating an automatic table of contents is easy.

  1. Place your cursor where you want your table of contents to be.
  2. On the References Ribbon, in the Table of Contents Group, click on the arrow next to the Table of Contents icon, and select Custom Table of Contents.
  3. If you want to change the style of your table of contents (e.g. you want more space between the items on level 1 and level 2 of your table of contents, or you want all your level 1 items to be bold), click on the Modify button, select the TOC level you want to change, then click the Modify button to do so.
  4. If you want to change which headings appear in your table of contents, you can do so by changing the number in the Show levels: pulldown.
  5. Click OK to insert your table of contents.
     

The table of contents is a snapshot of the headings and page numbers in your document, and does not automatically update itself as you make changes. At any time, you can update it by right-clicking on it and selecting Update field.  Notice that once the table of contents is in your document, it will turn gray if you click on it. This indicates that it is getting information from somewhere else.

Automatic Lists of Figures, Tables and Equations

If you have captioned your figures, tables, and equations using Word’s captioning feature (see the Inserting Captions tab to the left of this Guide), you can have Word generate your lists for you automatically.

  1. Place your cursor where you want your list to be.
  2. On the References Ribbon, in the Captions Group, click the Insert Table of Figures icon  (even for lists of tables and equations).
  3. In the Table of Figures dialog box, select the label for which you want to make a list from the Caption Label pulldown (such as "Equation", "Figure", or "Table").
  4. If you want to change the style of your table of contents (e.g. you want more space between each item in the list), click on the Modify button, select the Table of Figures style, then click the Modify button to do so. Click OK when you are done.
  5. Click OK to insert your table of contents.
     

Repeat these steps to insert other lists into your document (Rackham requires separate lists for tables, equations, figures, and any other label you’ve used).  A List of Appendices is handled differently - see the box below.

Appendices

An important thing to remember when dealing with appendices is that the Appendices section heading must be included in the Table of Contents, but each individual appendix cannot be included. In addition, if you have more than one appendix, you must include a List of Appendices section to your frontmatter. We'll do that by creating a new style for the individual appendices, and then we'll use the Table of Contents tool to create the List of Appendices.

First, for the "Appendices" section heading to appear in the Table of Contents, make sure you've applied the Heading 1 style to it, just as you have with all your other section headings. Now we need to create a new "Appendix Subheading" style so that we'll be able to generate a list of the individual appendices from it. 

1) Format your first appendix subheading ("Appendix I", for example) the way you'd like - perhaps Times New Roman, 12 point, Bold, Centered.

2) Select that text, and create a new style based on it:

Windows Mac
In the Home ribbon, expand the list of styles with the "More" button on the bottom right-hand corner of the box containing the style options.

From the Format menu, select "Style..."

image of selecting the Style... item from the Format menu

Choose Create a Style.

image of the Create a Style option

In the window that appears, click the New... button

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3) Ensure that your settings for this style match those in this image, including that it is based on Normal and that the style for following paragraph is Normal:

 image of Style formatting window with the settings we've described

4) Click OK to save these changes. (On a Mac, you'll have to have to also click Apply to dismiss the remaining window

5) Apply this style to each of your individual Appendix Names. 

 

 Now we just need to use the Table of Contents tool to generate a list based on this style. 

  1. Put your cursor where you want the List of Appendices to appear
  2. Go to the References tab, click to open the Table of Contents menu, and select Insert Table of Contents (Custom Table of Contents on Mac).
  3. Under the Table of Contents tab select Options.
  4. Delete all other priorities leaving only Appendix Subheading with a priority of 1. 
     

table of contents options window

 

Click OK and when Word asks “would you like to replace the selected table of contents” click No. If you say Yes, it will replace your main Table of Contents, and that would be unfortunate. Selecting No will leave it alone and instead create a second table that just has the appendices listed in them.