How to Hide Text from Microsoft Word Table of Contents

Occasionally I run in to an issue with Microsoft Word where I insert a TOC but find it includes unwanted headings from the front page of the document.

Before TOC Issue

Text that has been styled with a Heading style will be included in the TOC as if it is a normal section heading.


In order to correct this, the following steps can be taken:

  1. In MS Word, open the Styles Window. This is found on the Home ribbon, at the far right, via the small grey arrow below the Styles section. Alternatively press Alt + Ctrl +Shift +S
  2. TOC Issue Step 1
  3. In the Styles Windows, click the New Style button
  4. TOC Issue Step 2
  5. Create a new style with a unique name such as Front Page Heading ensuring it is based on the Heading 1 style.
  6. TOC Issue Step 3
  7. Click OK to close the New Style window
  8. Select the text that you don’t want to appear in the table of contents, but still have a heading-type style. Once selected, apply the new style using the icon for the new style in the Styles section of the Home Ribbon.
  9. TOC Issue Step 4
  10. Then, while the text is still selected, go to the References Ribbon and select Add Text > Do Not Show in Table of Contents from the Table of contents section on the far left hand side
  11. TOC Issue Step 5
  12. Once this is done, you can refresh the table of contents by selecting it, right-click and select Update Field.
  13. TOC Issue Step 6
  14. Select the option to Update entire table and click OK.
  15. TOC Issue Step 7

The Table of Contents should no longer show the unrequired headings from the front page

TOC Issue Step After

Comments For This Page

Thanks a lot!
By Anis on 17th January 2022
Does anyone know how to make collapsible subheadings in TOC..SO that you don't have so much clutter on the page..
By Priya on 16th January 2022
This was brilliant! It did exactly what I needed it to. Thank you so much!
On 10th January 2022
This simply made the subheadings normal text in the document, which is not what I wanted.
On 10th December 2021
That was very helpful. Thank you for putting all this information together, It resolved a problem that have taken too much time from me.
By Linda on 30th March 2021
This was so helpful thank you!! I couldn%u2019t find any other step by step info like this
By MAC on 31st January 2021
Glad to know i am not the only one who had this problem,
By Callie linde on 31st January 2021
This is lovely. Thanks
On 16th November 2020
Alternative (easier)
- References Tab > Table of Contents drop-down > Custom TOC > Options >
- remove any unwanted Styles from the TOC by removing the TOC level from the box next to the style
On 13th November 2020
Why can't anyone figure out how to remove text from TOC that isn't a heading?
By ABBYGRAY on 9th October 2020
This works but removes the numbering in the text that is removed from the table, Which defeats the purpose of the document! Any further help?
On 22nd August 2020
This did not work for me. What might i be missing? Please help!
By Sabna on 13th January 2020
THIS was exactly what I needed!!!! I don't find many pieces of useful and specific information on the internet concerning Word so thanks a lot!!!

By Brittney on 26th August 2019
Basically what this method does, is making a heading let's say 3 title, to become a normal text. I could that my self too. Anyways, if that happens, you can just keep it as normal text, and align its colour.
By Almer on 13th June 2019
in Word 2019 it removes the heading in the document navigation, but not in the table of contents
By Costis on 8th June 2019
Unfortunately this also removes the entry from the Navigation Pane.

I've tried to uncheck the Build TOC from Styles box, but it doesn't work, after closing settings and opening again, the Styles box is still checked.
By Steve on 5th June 2019
The problem with this method is that the semantic structure is now incorrect and this causes difficulty for people with disabilities who rely on semantic structure to understand and navigate documents. In order to preserve semantic structure and allow control over what is represented in the TOC, Microsoft should add a feature to exclude individual items from the TOC. Then authors wouldn't have to resort to this hack which has unwanted side effects.
By Mark Magennis on 19th November 2018
Do you have a method for if I am working with an outline, because this takes away the whole text.
By Isabella on 19th October 2018
Selecting remove from the TOC doesn't actually take my (body not headings) text out of the TOC.
On 27th September 2018
Table of content is spread between the different chapter and text. It's a mess. I follow the instructions by the letter but nothing works. What am I doing wrong.
On 22nd September 2018
On 21st September 2018
Very useful, thanks!
On 19th July 2018
Thanks a million.
On 10th July 2018
This works fine, but it also removes the heading from the document map. Is there a way of removing it from TOC, but leaving it in document map? I seem to remember I could do this in Word 2000.....
On 1st April 2018
Thanks Lorna.
By Daft Logic on 25th January 2018
Finally! Something that actually worked. I've been trying and looking for a solution for hours! And it is so simple!
By Lorna on 25th January 2018
Very helpful - much appreciated!
By Sara on 21st June 2017
Simple and well explained. Helped me with my Word report table of contents.
By Dot on 23rd May 2017
Thank you!
On 28th February 2017
Thank you!
By Chaya Mushka on 26th June 2016

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