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

Anthony Domanico | Aug. 14, 2014
No matter how great your idea is, the difference between your business proposal and someone else's could boil down to the look and feel. A title page, header and footer, table of contents, and other elements separate a professional-looking document from a dull sea of text. It's worth your time to learn how Word's tools and wizards make such formatting easy--and keep exploring other ways to present your work in the best possible light.

To take best advantage of the automatic tables of contents, make sure your in-document headers are formatted appropriately. Select the header text you'd like to format, and click Home.

In the Styles submenu, you'll see options for Heading 1, Heading 2, and Heading 3. Just mouse over any of these header options to preview that style on your text, and click to apply.

Make sure your headings are used hierarchically. Heading 1 should be a major section, while Heading 2 should be a subsection, for example.

Next, I'll show you how to insert your table of contents into your document.

Inserting your table of contents

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

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.

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.

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 for Microsoft and user-created templates. 

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. 


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