TOC Picture

Not long ago, I received the following email from a large law firm which was creating some internal documentation:

I am having trouble converting a Table of Contents in Word to PDF so that all the hyperlinks work. I have all the settings checked in the Acrobat PDF Maker, but no links are being created in the resulting TOC in the PDF. Help!

I did some research on this and it turned out to be an easily fixable issue in Word itself.


Microsoft Word’s TOC function creates hyperlinks to Headings found in the Word file.

Acrobat provides two ways to create PDF from Word:

  1. Adobe PDF Print driver
    Use this print driver to create a PDF from any application that can print
  2. Adobe PDF Maker
    The special integration Acrobat installs into Microsoft Word that offers additional functionality such as bookmark creation and hyperlink creation.

You will need the latter to convert Word TOC hyperlinks to PDF hyperlinks.

The PDF Maker for Word won’t create links in these two situations:

**How do I create a Table of Contents in Word to begin with?**First, apply Word’s built-in Heading styles to the headings in your text. (Headings 1, Heading 2, etc.)

_Word 2007 and 2010_References > Table of Contents > choose an option from the menu

_In Word 2003 and earlier_Insert > Reference > Tables and Indexes. Click on the Table of Contents Tab. Click OK.

You need to tell Word to create hyperlinks for TOC elements. The instructions below are for Word 2010, but they should also work for Word 2007. The process is much the same for earlier versions of Word.

  1. Click anywhere inside the Word TOC to select it.
    All the text in the TOC should highlight as below:
  2. Right-click on the highlighted text and choose Edit Field:
  3. Edit Field for Word TOC
  4. Word’s Field window opens.
    A) From the list on the left, choose TOC
    B) Click the Table of Contents button
  5. Edit Field Window for TOC in Word
  6. Click the “Use Hyperlinks instead of Page Numbers” checkbox.

You might have noticed that the TOC elements in the screen capture above look like web hyperlinks.

I believe it is a good practice to ensure that hyperlinked elements in the PDF are evident to the reader of the document. You can change the appearance of the TOC elements in Word in the Table of Contents window in Word. Here’s how:

  1. In the Table of Contents window, click the** Modify . . . **button.
  2. Click the Modify button to change the Word TOC style
  3. The Style Window opens.
    A) Select a TOC level from the list
    B) Click the Modify button
  4. Style window for Word TOC
  5. The Modify Stylet window opens.
    Set the font color to Blue and click the OK button.
  6. Set style to Blue for the TOC heading
  7. Repeat Step 3 above for all the TOC levels used in your document.
    By default, Word only uses three levels for the TOC, so you probably only need to change theTOC1, TOC2 and TOC3 styles.
  8. Click OK twice.
  9. Word will ask if you want to replace the TOC. Click OK.
  10. TOC Replacement Warning dialog screen capture

More Word TOC Tricks

Here is a link to Word TOC resource that might helpful to those of you who want to more fully customize your TOC in Word:

Using Switches to choose Separators for TOC Elements