Adjust the Indentation and Spacing between Numbers and Text in a TOC (Word 2013)

In my previous tutorial, you have learnt how to create your own TOC. Now, let’s learn how to adjust the indentation and spacing between the numbers and text in the TOC you have built. There’s no easy or straightforward way to do this, I’ve tried various methods to get it right but to no avail. Then, I discovered that by formatting the headings as a numbered list, it sorts of do the trick!

Let’s go back to where we have already defined Headings 1, 2 and 3:

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At this point, the numbers you see (i.e. 1.1, 2.1.1) is not formatted as a numbered list, this is something you have manually type, not automated.

1.  Select the first sub heading 1.1. In the Paragraph group on the Home tab, click the Numbering button.

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2.  This automatically changed it to a numbered list. To apply this to all the first sub headings, right-click Heading 2 and select Update Heading 2 to Match Selection.

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3.  You’ll notice that the numbering seems to have gone hay wired for the first sub headings. Take note of the difference below.

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4.  To force the first sub headings under CHAPTER 2 to begin with 2.1, right-click 1.3 and select Set Numbering Value.

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5.  In the dialog box, select Continue from previous list, check Advance value (skip numbers) and set the value to 2 in the first field and 1 in the second field. Click OK.

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6.  The sub headings under CHAPTER 2 is now corrected with the right starting value.

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7.  Repeat Step 4 to 5 for CHAPTER 3, and adjust the value to 3 and 1 respectively in the Set Numbering Value dialog box.

8.  The sub headings under CHAPTER 3 is now corrected with the right starting value.

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9.  Carefully delete the text 2.1, not the numbered list 2.1. Do this for all the text in the first sub headings and you will get a clean list like this:

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10.  Similarly, select the second sub heading 2.2.1 and click the Numbering button in the Paragraph group on the Home tab.

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11.  This automatically changed it to a numbered list. To apply this to all the second sub headings, right-click Heading 3 and select Update Heading 3 to Match Selection.

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12.  At this point, Word has cleverly adjusted the start value of the numbering for the remaining second sub headings, and you don’t have to correct it!

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13.  Now, carefully delete the text 2.2.2, not the numbered list 2.2.2. Do this for all the text in the second sub headings and you will get a clean list like this:

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14.  You’ll notice that, for the second sub headings, Word has somehow automatically adjusted the spacing between the numbers and text when you update the numbering earlier. But the first sub headings are not.

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15.  Place the cursor just before the letter ‘P’.

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16.  You’ll see the default indentation marker on the ruler at the top.

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To help you differentiate the types of indentation, here it is:

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17.  Carefully drag the Hanging Indent marker to the right until you think the spacing is just about right.

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18.  To apply the same indentation style to the rest of the first sub headings, select the entire 1.1 sub heading and double-click the Format Painter button.

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19.  Paint over 1.2, 2.1, 2.2, 3.1 and 3.2. You’ll have a nicely adjusted list like this:

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20.  To reflect the adjusted spacing in the TOC section, right-click the TOC and click Update Field.

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21.  Select Update entire table and click OK.

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22.  Ta daaaaa! The indentation and spacing for your TOC is now nicely adjusted!

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This is how it looks like before the adjustment:

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Happy trying!

 

 

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