Fix: Table Of Contents in Microsoft Word Not Updating [2024]

Written By Steven Arends

Picture yourself picking up a book from the library. What’s the first thing you do? The average human being would go through the TOC (Table of Contents) first.

As a result, creating a table of contents with relevant subheadings, subchapters and list of figures is essential for any writer out there. Most writers use Microsoft 365 suite because it allows you to automatically update and insert multiple tables of contents in your Word document.

However, recently, we’ve received numerous reports from users stating that their table of contents entry are not being updated. After analyzing this problem, I discovered some foolproof methods to ensure you can always update TOC wthout issues.fix-microsoft-word-table-of-contents-not-updating

Enough talk. Let’s deep dive into the main discussion

Check out our separate post on how to insert word page numbers in MS Word.

Why is my Table of Contents in Word Not Updating?

Your Word Table of Contents (TOC) is not updating correctly because of your subheading’s incorrect style or paragraph’s incorrect style on the current document. If you use the heading style as a Title instead of Subheading 1-6, your heading does not appear in the TOC.

The headings within TOC allow users to navigate the entire document easily and quickly. Users can easily scan the whole document within a few seconds by rolling their eyes at the TOC.

However, the main concern is some MS Word users reported that the Table of Contents in MS Word is not updating correctly. Many reports about MS Word TOC are found on different forums, including Microsoft forums. This issue seems to be occurring more frequently in these versions of Word:

  1. Word 2007
  2. Word 2010
  3. Word 2013
  4. Word 2016
  5. Word 2019

There are three possible reasons for the Table of Contents not updating correctly on MS Word. These three are the main culprit causing the TOC not updating issue.

Here’s a complete guide on how to set background image on MS Word.

Here are the main reasons for the Table of Contents not updating on MS Word:

Incorrect Heading Style

If the heading style applied is not set in the correct heading format, your heading does not appear on the Table of Contents. For this reason, the TOC is not correctly updated when you try to update your Table of Contents.

Note that you need to choose the appropriate heading 1 or 2 style instead of simply changing the font for Word to recognize the header formatting changes.

Incorrect Paragraph Style

Another significant reason for the Table of Contents not updating correctly on MS Word is the incorrect paragraph style.

When a paragraph style is not matched with other paragraph styles in a document, the MS Word Table of Contents doesn’t update correctly.

Improper Placement of TOC

Improper placement of the Table of Content is another primary reason for this issue.

When the TOC is created in the middle of the end of the document, it may be possible your Table of Contents is not updating correctly.

Also, check out our separate post on how to make only one page landscape in Word.

How to Fix Word Table of Contents In Microsoft Word Not Updating

You can fix automatic table of contents not updating by editing or modifying styles included in the TOC. Note that you need to go to the references tab and manually select the option to update entries in the table every time since Word does not track changes to your document in real time.

There are three proven and effective methods to resolve the TOC contents page not updating issue on MS Word. Try to follow these three effective methods to fix the problem.

Here are the steps to fix Table of Contents in Word not updating issue:

1. Check the Heading Style

The first method to fix the word Table of Contents not updating issue is to check and ensure the heading style on your document.

If one of your headings is missing from your TOC, check the heading style to ensure your missing heading is formatted in the correct format, like Heading 2.

If your heading style is set as a Normal text style, it’s not included in TOC as a heading. To set a line as a heading or subheading, select the entire line and choose a heading format (Heading 1 to 6) to set a line as a heading or subheading.

After correctly formatting the subheading style, update your TOC to make the changes in your Table of Contents.

Check out the easiest way to enable equation editor in Microsoft Word.

2. Check the Paragraph Style

Another effective method to fix the Microsoft word Table of Contents not updating correctly is to check and ensure that all paragraph style is the same on your entire document.

If one of the headings and the page numbers are not showing correctly in your Table of Contents, select the paragraph under the heading and check the style of the selected paragraph.

When your selected paragraph style differs from other paragraphs, set the paragraph style chosen the same as others. Follow the steps below to copy and paste the format style.

Here are the steps to copy and paste the format style:

  • Select a paragraph and press Ctrl+Shift+C on your keyboard to copy the style.
  • Select the paragraph where you want to paste the style.
  • Press Ctrl+Shift+V on your keyboard to paste the style.
  • Update your TOC to make the changes.

3. Use Paragraph Marks

Using the paragraph marks is another effective way to solve the Table of Contents not updating issue on MS Word.

If you face similar issues with the TOC, you can try this method to resolve the issue.

To use the paragraph marks, follow the steps below:

  • Click on the ¶ symbol to show/hide paragraph marks under the Home button click-final_paragraph_mark
  • Remove the final paragraph mark of the document.
  • Copy all the content.
  • Create a new document and paste all content.
  • Try to update your TOC to check whether your problem is solved.

Quickly check out our epic guide on how to enable word wrap in notepad.

How to Update a Table Of Contents in Microsoft Word Document

You can update a table of contents in Microsoft Word and its headings automatically by choosing update the table of contents option in the reference tab. You can also choose to update table entirely or just the page number. It’s also possible to choose from the built-in heading styles and format it.

Do you want to know the update process of the Microsoft Word Table of Contents?

There are two effective and tested ways to update the Table of Contents on Microsoft Word. Here, I will describe these two methods to update the TOC.

Here are the steps to update the MS Word Table of Contents:

  • Select the Reference tab on the top navigation menu panel using a left or right-click. select-reference-tab
  • Click on the Update Table option next to the Table of Contents option. click-update-table
  • Select one of the following options: select-options
    • Update page numbers only – This option only shows page numbers of all newly added TOC entries.
    • Update entire table – This option updates the entire document headings text and the page number.
  • Click on the OK. select-OK

You can also update your Table of Contents using the TOC itself. Follow the steps below to do this.

Here are the steps to update the MS Word Table of Contents:

  • Select the Table of Contents of your document.
  • Click on the Update Table option at the top left side of the Table of Contents. click-update_table-option
  • Choose one of the options based on your preference. select-options
  • Click on the OK. select-OK

Final Thoughts

Creating a good Table of Contents in your document provides a road map, makes the document easier to discuss, and complements your training outline.

From the above explanations and fixes, I hope now you can efficiently resolve your problem without facing any further issues.

Which method helps you to resolve your problem? Let me know in the comment section to help others find the best one.

That’s all for now. Have a good day.

About The Author
Steven Arends is a computer science graduate and tech enthusiast with over 10 years of experience in the field. He has a vast collection of computer hardware and loves exploring the latest advancements. As a contributing author to 10Scopes, Steven shares his expertise to make the world of technology more accessible and easier to understand for all readers.

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