How to create an automatic table of contents for a research project work (2023-2024)

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

How to create an automatic table of contents for a research project work  


It is a season of love, so, do everything possible to show it now that you got the time. With this in mind, has decided to share a skill that many students pay for the service for free. This is to show how much we love our readers.


Remember that everything you learn matters. You never know how it can later come in handy for you. Therefore, no matter how little the opportunity may seem, never let it pass you by. Enough with the motivational words let us get to work. Are you ready?


Today, we are going to learn how to create or generate an automatic table of contents using Microsoft 2016. Note that the table of contents is among the preliminary pages of a research project and many students pay for this service.


If you check our services page, you will see that you can hire us to render this service, but I will show you how to go about it yourself. The question is what is a table of contents?


What is a table of contents?

The table of contents simply displays an organized listing of your document's chapters, major headings, subheadings, and, often, figures, clearly labeled by page numbers. 

Have it at heart that for you to generate an automatic table of contents for your research project work, you need to place your work according to the various headings style.


The heading styles start from heading 1, 2, 3, and so on. The worry that should cross your mind now is how do I know that this title, major, or subsection in a chapter belongs to heading one, two, and so on?


Here is my little secret. Come closer for me to whisper in your ears. Oh, I forgot you are reading. Well, open your eyes wide to see my little secret to knowing how to arrange your work according to the various headings.  


Hint:  Place the titles of the various chapters in heading one. All major headings under the chapter should be placed in heading two and subheadings under heading two should be placed under heading three and so on. I hope this is clear enough.


Below are the easy steps you need to follow in order to generate an automatic table of contents for your research project. Screenshots will equally be provided.


(1). The first thing to do is to arrange the heading styles according to how you will want them to appear. Do you want it centralized or justified? Bold or not bold, what about the font size, which font text times new roman, or Arial? What about the spacing?

Where can I find heading styles? Click on Home > Styles, and then choose Heading.

When you do this, you will see the various headings but Microsoft word displays just three. However, when you have used the three headings, the fourth will automatically pop up, and so on.

(2). How do I arrange the headings?

Place your cursor on heading 1 then right-click. When you right-click, a drop-down will appear. Choose modify (Do same for other headings)

When you click on modify, this is what you will see


This is where you can arrange the heading with respect to it being centralized or justified, bold or not bold, spacing, font size, font color, etc.



  • The titles of the various chapters are always centralized and bold.
  • Any other heading is justified as well as being bold.
  • The font color is black. I am sure no one has to tell you this hahaha. This is just a reminder
  • In project writing, the standard font size is 12, Times New Roman, and double spacing. However, some institutions have their own rules and regulations when it comes to this. It is preferable to inquire from your supervisor about the font size and spacing of your institute or department.

After arranging the heading styles exactly the way, you want them; highlight whatever you want to appear in the table of content then click on the heading style it falls under. Below is an example of how heading one and two looks respectively.


Remember that for each heading you want in the table of contents, select the heading text.

We have arranged the work, what next? How do we generate the automatic table of contents? Where can we find it in a word document?

Also check: How to Write Abstract For A Research Paper

(3). Go to References > Table of Contents and choose an automatic style (three types of automatic table of content would appear. Choose the second option.)

Before accessing, the references tab in the ribbon to generate your automatic table of content, place your cursor where you want the automatic table to appear. In project writing, it is among the preliminary pages immediately after the abstract or below the research abstract.

I hope this write-up helps any student generate an automatic table of contents by themselves. We will do a video for you to see how it is done in case you face any issues. Comment in case you have any worries. Thanks for your time.

Also check: An overview and structure of a research project

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