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Table of Contents with extra text - Quick Reference

Among the many Table of Contents questions we’ve received were very good ones about making a ‘Quick Reference’ guide to a Microsoft Word long document.  Usually this is the main headings plus some text that summarizes that chapter/section.

It’s possible to make a special summary in Word that updates automatically.  It’s hardly an obvious method … so here’s a guide.


Use Styles (not Outline levels) to make a limited Table of Contents (TOC) based on only two styles.  Use a field code switch to stop the page numbering on the second level lines.

We’ll explain why we’re choosing certain options so you can adjust our example to suit your own needs.

Document setup

First, setup your document with the right styles and text.

The main heading (Heading 1 in our example) is quite standard.

The extra text or sub-title to appear under the heading needs a custom style.  Even if the text looks the same as the main document, the style is needed so Word can figure out what has to go in the TOC.

Here’s the main document with a heading, sub-title paragraph and the rest of the text.  The paragraph under the heading has the style ‘Sub-title’ which looks no different from the rest of the section.

What’s different about the Sub-title style?  Nothing really … here’s the style settings:

The style is based on ‘Normal’ (the style for body text in the document) and there’s no changes from that style.  The only difference is the name of the style.

Apply the styles heading and sub-title styles throughout the document.  We’ll use the styles ‘Heading 1’ (the in-built style name) and ‘Sub-title’ but you can use any names you like.

The sub-title text doesn’t have to be immediately under the heading.

Make Table of Contents

Now we can make the basic Table of Contents.  This is a little different from a normal TOC because we’ll specifically choose the styles that are linked – not the usual combination of styles and outline levels.

Select the place in the document where the Table of Contents/Quick Reference guide is to appear. Go to References | Table of Contents | Table of Contents and choose Custom Table of Contents.

Change the ‘Show levels’ to  2

‘Show page numbers’ is your choice.  We’ll leave it on because there’s a trick needed if you want page numbering.

The tab leader is entirely up to you.  We’ll leave it on the default.

Click on the options button for important changes

Set Styles for the Table of Contents

Now the important change.  The Options dialog controls what parts of a document Word uses to make a TOC – Styles, Outline Levels or specific TC field codes.   The default is both Styles and Outline levels like this:

Styles Heading 1 and Heading 2 will be used in the TOC linked to the first and second TOC levels.  Outline Levels are also included, if any.

Uncheck the ‘Outline levels’ box.

Delete the TOC level for any style that has a number except Heading 1.

Scroll down the style list to find Sub-title and make it TOC level 2

Click OK twice to exit the TOC options and insert the Table of Contents.

The result, so far, will look like this:

Almost done.  Except that the page numbering appears for each item, not just the heading.  That’s not very neat.

Stop page numbering

It’s possible to suppress the page numbering for specific TOC levels but to do that we need to dig into the Word field codes.  There’s no dialog box option to do it.

All the work we’ve done in various Word dialog boxes merely sets up a TOC field code with the right settings.  Press Alt + F9 to see the field code instead of the text it makes for you.

Here’s the field code we have to far:

{ TOC \o "1-1" \h \z \t "Sub-title,2" }

We won’t bore you with an explanation of all the settings.  That’s a whole enormous subject for another time.

By default, Word inserts page numbers into Table of Contents.  Use the  \n  switch to stop the page numbers appearing at all.

Less well known is the option to stop page numbers for specific levels.   \n  2-2  will prevent page numbers to show only for level 2 entries.  Note:  you have to specify a range of levels (eg \n 2-4 ) so for a single level it has to be  \n 2-2  not \n 2.

{ TOC \o "1-1" \h \z \t "Sub-title,2" \n 2-2 }

Press Alt + F9 to return to standard Word view.  Select the TOC and press F9 to update it (choose ‘Update entire table’, if asked).

And we’re done!  Here’s the Quick Reference that will automatically update as you edit the document.


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