Dress up your Word document with page numbers, a table of contents and more

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Inserting your table of contents

Once your document headers are formatted, click References, then the Table of Contents drop-down menu.

insert table of contents

This dropdown menu will bring up three built-in options for your table of contents. You can also find some alternative options online.

As with most of the other Word functions, the Table of Contents wizard gives you several options. Two automated formats update your table based on text formatted in Headers 1 through 3, and a manual version lets you do as you wish.

The two automatic options will automatically fill in any new headers and update the page numbers whenever you click Update Table.

If you’d rather update your table of contents manually, you can either insert the one manual template, or create one of your own. If you use the manual template, Word will give you a few placeholders to get you started.

example manual table of contents

If you prefer, you can insert a manual table of contents and edit the text yourself. Just remember to update it as you add content.

You can delete or copy and paste the different levels to customize your table. Simply edit the text boxes for chapter title and page number to update the listing.

Title pages

Title pages lend a finished look to reports, proposals, and other professional documents. They provide an opportunity to set the stage for the contents, as well as communicate basic information such as authorship. Some organizations require a specific format for the title page.

title page example

Every good story needs a cover page, and Word’s built in templates help you make a good-looking cover page in no time.

If you’re not constrained by a prescribed format, you can customize the title page to your heart’s content. The built-in wizard makes a cover page in a few easy clicks, or there's also a manual tool.

Using the wizard

To use the Wizard, click Insert > Cover Page. You can select one of the dozen or so templates built into Word itself, or search through Office.com for Microsoft and user-created templates. 

use the cover page wizard

 If you’re the kind of person to set it and forget it, you can use the Cover Page Wizard to create your front page. You can use template cover pages built into Word and user submitted options on Office.com.

The premade templates have text boxes you can click and customize. Some have images you can replace with your own. With the Wizard, creating a cover page takes less than a minute, and they look just as good (or even better) than what you could build on your own.

Change the font

Text styling options are found in the Home ribbon in Word. Under the Styles subsection, you can select from several text formats Microsoft has built into Word, or you can create a style unique to your paper. 

change font settings

A solid font and font size can really make your cover page pop, and it’s as simple as clicking a few dropdown boxes and toggle buttons.

Click the drop-down menu to select and apply a style, or launch the creation tool. Click on the selected style to apply it to your selected text.

using the styles subsection

Word even has preset font styles that can help you focus on content instead of formatting.

Insert images

Images add impact to title pages and contents alike. Click Insert > Pictures or select Online Pictures from the Illustrations submenu. Pictures pulls an image from your computer’s hard drive, while Online Pictures pulls images from Office clip art, Bing, OneDrive, Facebook, or Flickr.

insert online image

In addition to images on your hard drive, you can use images from Office.com, Bing, OneDrive, Facebook, or Flickr.

When you insert an image, click and drag on any of the eight points surrounding your image to resize it. You can set text to wrap around your image. You can also add borders, artistic effects, and more from the Format menu that appears the image is selected.

picture editing options

For quick edits and effects, you can use Word’s built-in image manipulation tools to jazz up your image.

Once you've mastered Word's formatting tools, you'll never be able to go back to the standard Blank document. It's amazing how even page numbers can make your work look more organized, and how well-placed images deepen the impact of your content. If you're a Word formatting geek, let us know your favorite tricks in the comments.

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