Tips & Tricks: Create a TOC in Word and How to Use the Selection Pane

Create a Table of Contents (TOC) that Includes Specific Styles

The normal way to create a table of contents (TOC) is to let Word automatically create one based upon the headings in a document. Each paragraph formatted with the Heading 1 style, Heading 2 style, and Heading 3 style are automatically pulled into the TOC.

There may be times when you want to create a TOC that includes paragraph styles other than the heading styles. For instance, you might have a paragraph style you’ve created for a specific purpose, such as for denoting all the product names in a document. You don’t want to format these product names as headings; you instead want to format them with a special paragraph format that calls them out in some manner specific to your needs. (Let’s say that you use the style named SpecialProduct for this purpose.) If you then, later, want to include those product names in a special TOC, you can follow these steps:

  1. Position the insertion point at the location in the document where you want the table of contents.
  2. Display the References tab of the ribbon.
  3. At the left of the ribbon click the Table of Contents tool. Word displays a few options.
  4. Click Insert Table of Contents. Word displays the Table of Contents dialog box.

5. Click on the Options button. Word displays the Table of Contents Options dialog box.

6. Change the TOC Level column so that a 4 appears next to the SpecialProduct style. (You may need to scroll down in the list of styles in order to find the SpecialProduct style.) This indicates that you want any paragraphs that are formatted using the SpecialProduct style to end up in the TOC and be formatted in that table with the TOC 4 style.

7. Make sure there are no other numbers in the TOC Level column.

8. Click on OK to close the Table of Contents Options dialog box.

9. Click on OK to close the Table of Contents dialog box and generate the table of contents.

The result of creating this TOC in this way is that you have a list of all your products, and they are formatted in the list using the TOC 4 style. You can modify the TOC 4 style to reflect how you want the products to appear in the TOC.

You’ll note that these steps used TOC level 4 (the TOC 4 style) for the products. The reason for this is simple: it allows you to leave TOC levels 1 through 3 (the TOC 1, TOC 2, and TOC 3 styles) for use in the regular TOC for the document. That way you can use different formatting for the regular TOC and the special product list TOC.

Selection Pane (Word, Excel, PowerPoint 2010 and Later)

There may be times when you’re working with a series of objects (images, shapes, pictures, text boxes, etc.) and you find it difficult to select a single object or you want to rearrange the order of the objects.

The Selection Pane allows you select multiple objects at once, hide specific objects, and change the order of objects.

  • To launch the Selection Pane in Word or PowerPoint, click on the
Select drop-down in the Editing group on the Home tab, and choose
Selection Pane.
  • To launch the Selection Pane in Excel, click on the Find & Select drop-down in the Editing group on the Home tab, and choose Selection Pane.

Let’s say you are working with a complex Organizational Chart or other series of text boxes and shapes. In the image below, there is a small shape shown in the dashed box. This shape should be removed, but when the user tries to click on it to select it, the text box and/or some of the arrows are also selected.

1. Select an object near the one you want to remove.

2. The selected object is highlighted in the list on the Selection Pane.

3. You can click on the Hide button to the right of the object’s name:

4. Continue selecting and hiding objects that surround the object you want to select. Hidden objects remain in the Selection Pane list, but are indicated by a dash.

5. When you have isolated the object that you want to delete, simply select it and press the Delete key.

6. Then, go back to the Selection Pane and click on Show All to reinstate the rest of the objects that you temporarily hid.

7. The order in which items are listed in the Selection Pane determines how they appear. If you want to move a particular object behind another, simply drag it down on the list. This is helpful when you have connectors that should appear behind text boxes, for example. Make sure that all connectors appear lower in the list than the text boxes and you won’t have to individually move each one behind its related text box.

8. Close the Selection Pane by clicking on the X in the upper-right corner.

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