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Word Table of Contents not updating [Fix]

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Word Table of Contents not updating [Fix]

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Is the Table of Contents in your Word document not updating? If yes, you have come to the correct page. Here, we will show you what to do when it can’t be updated in Word.

Word Table of Contents not updating

Why is Table of Contents Word not updating?

Since the Table of Contents is a field and not regular text, it is not automatically updated by Word. You need to manually update it using Word’s Update Table feature. There can be different reasons why the table of contents does not update automatically. These reasons include incorrect formatting styles, corrupted elements in the document, and using an outdated version of Word.

Fix Word Table of Contents not updating

If the table of contents is not updating in Microsoft Word, you can use the below suggestions:

  1. Update the table of contents using a hotkey or a dedicated option.
  2. Check the style used in headings and subheadings.
  3. Enable the Update fields before printing feature.
  4. Make sure the document is not corrupted.
  5. Update Microsoft Word.
  6. Recreate the table of contents.

1] Update the table of contents using a hotkey or a dedicated option

As mentioned earlier, Microsoft Word does not update the Table of Contents automatically as you type. However, suppose you have made modifications to your document structure and need to update the Table of Contents. In that case, you can update the table of contents using a hotkey or dedicated option from the ribbon.

Using a hotkey:

To use a hotkey, here are the steps to follow:

  • First, click anywhere in the table of contents.
  • Now, press the F9 key on your keyboard.
  • In the Update Table of Contents dialog box, select either Update page numbers only or Update entire table.
  • Finally, press the OK button to update the table.

Using References tab:

You can also use the dedicated Update Table button in the References tab from the ribbon to update the table of contents.

See whether you can update the Table of Contents in your document using one of the above methods.

2] Check the style used in headings and subheadings

It could be incorrect formatting styles of headings and subheadings used in the Table of Contents preventing it from being updated. Hence, you need to identify the headings and subheadings in the table and format them correctly. Also, ensure that the styles used in the table are properly defined.

What you can do to format the styles correctly is triple-click on the paragraph with the correct format in the table of contents. Then, press the Ctrl+Shift+C hotkey to copy the formatting from the text. After that, triple-click on the wrong paragraph and press Ctrl+Shift+V to paste the copied correct formatting style to the selected paragraph. You can now update the table using the method (1) and see if the problem is resolved.

Read: Word cannot open the file because the file format does not match the file extension.

3] Enable the Update fields before printing feature

To ensure you don’t overlook updating your table of contents before printing, configure Word to automatically update fields before printing. Here’s how:

  • First, go to the File menu in Word and select Options.
  • Now, move to the Display tab.
  • Next, under the Printing options section, tick the Update fields before printing checkbox.
  • After that, press the OK button to save changes.

4] Make sure the document is not corrupted

You might be dealing with this issue because of corruption in your document. Hence, ensure that your document is not corrupted.

You can open another instance of Word and import the problematic document again. While doing so, you can use the Open and Repair feature and let Word fix the corrupted document. Once the document opens, make the required modifications and see if the Table of Contents is updating or not.

TIP: Best free Word Repair Tools to repair corrupted documents.

5] Update Microsoft Word

Update Microsoft Office 365

You are likely to experience issues and problems in Word if you haven’t updated it to its latest version. So, update Microsoft Word and check if the issue is resolved.

6] Recreate the table of contents

The last resort to resolve the issue is to create the table of contents in your Word document again. You can first delete the table by selecting the table and pressing the Delete button. After that, insert a new table of contents, and hopefully, the problem will be resolved now.

Read: Fix Bookmark Not defined error in Word.

Why isn’t my Table of Contents picking up headings?

The Table of Contents field is configured to display a specific set of styles. If your Table of Contents is not displaying all headings in a Word document, it is like likely that the heading styles you are using are not defined for your table of contents. In that case, you can modify the Table of Contents field to use a range of outline levels rather than a range of styles.

Word Table of Contents not updating

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