Small Business Productivity Tips: Organize Your Documents with a Table of Contents

By John R. Aberle | Small Business Productivity Tips

Sep 21

Small Business Productivity Tips:

Table of Contents in Microsoft Word to

Organize Your Documents


As I mentioned before, I share these Small Business Productivity Tips because I have found them helpful in my small business. They improve organization and make tasks easier as well as take less time to do.  I love automating processes. As a small business owner, executive, or employee, if you create lengthy documents, you will love the ease of making a table of contents.

Why Use a Table of Contents in Your Small Business’ Documents

  • It shows your prospective reader what major topics your document will cover.
  • A table of contents shows the hierarchical structure of your document, which means it shows what you consider most important and the supporting points you have under each major point.
  • This structure makes it easier for your readers to scan for the content they want.
  • It also makes it easier to understand it than lengthy paragraphs do.
  • Furthermore, a table of contents shows that you are a professional who knows how to structure a document, book or ebook
  • I use them too for lengthy notes, like those I take on a 2 hour training call.
    • I can review what we covered and
    • I can jump to a specific discussion – while I can use search, sometimes I don’t recall the exact phrase or name or spelling I used or whether I used abbreviations. Without a table of contents often search becomes a lengthy process

  Unable to display content. Adobe Flash is required.

The beauty of creating a table of contents in Microsoft Word is that once you created your headings, as taught in SBPT #7, you have the elements needed to swiftly and easily put one in place. By the way, you need the Headings (H tags) defined in Styles, not custom styles. You can, however, redefine each heading level.

Steps for Creating a Table of Contents

  1. Write your document
  2. Add headings and subheadings
  3. Go to the References tab on the ribbon bar
  4. At the left end of the ribbon bar, click on Table of Contents
  5. Choose type of table you want
    1. Automatic Table 1
    2. Automatic Table 2
    3. Manual Table

      I prefer the manual table because I use Heading 4 a lot and want them to show in the table.

      Example of Content for a Sample Table of Contents

Screen shot of document for Small Business Productivity Tip #8 - Example of a Table of Contents


NOTE: The different lines in a table of contents created this way work as hyperlinks to the specific content you want to jump to. In Microsoft Word, hold the <Ctrl> key while you click on the line.

By the way, this post is a transcript of the video as I read it to create the video.

This post on Small Business Productivity Tips: Organize Your Documents with a Table of Contents showed you how easy it is using Microsoft Word Style headings to create a table of contents for lengthy documents. This service enables your readers can get an overview of what is contained as well as to jump to specific points.

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Building your profits through strong relationships,


John R. Aberle, Aberle Enterprises


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About the Author

I have a strong love for small businesses, especially brick and mortar companies. After an 18-year career in sales and marketing, I started my own service company, which I grew in both sales and profits for the first five years. In my sixth year, the bottom dropped out of the printer market such that it made more sense to sell my assets and return to Southern California. There I went to work for an international small business consulting company. I spent over three years on the road with them helping small businesses to become more profitable and better managed. I then started my own company specializing in sales and marketing consulting, coaching and training. My emphasis is on heart-centered, relationship selling that empowers prospects to make their own choices.