Microsoft KB Archive/253008

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WD2000: When You View the Contents Tab, Document Contents Box Is Blank

Article ID: 253008

Article Last Modified on 12/6/2000


  • Microsoft Word 2000 Standard Edition

This article was previously published under Q253008


When you view the Contents tab (on the File menu, click Properties), the Document contents box is blank, shows only Title, or shows the title (or first line of text) of the document.


In Microsoft Word, the Contents tab displays only the title or first line of the document. However, in other Microsoft Office programs, the Contents tab displays information about parts of the file.

For example, in Microsoft Excel, the Contents tab lists the sheets that are part of a workbook. In Microsoft PowerPoint, the Contents tab lists fonts used in the presentation as well as slide titles. In Microsoft Binder, the Contents tab lists the sections in the file.


Unless you specify a document title, Word uses the first line of the document for the title when you first save the file. Word places this information on the Summary and Contents tabs of the Properties dialog box.

To specify a document title, click Properties on the File menu, click the Summary tab, and type a title in the Title text box. If you specify a title, Word copies it from the Summary tab to the Contents tab.

If a file does not show a title on the Summary and Contents tabs, one of the following is probably true:

  • The file has not been saved.


  • The file is not a Word file.


  • The file was created in an earlier version of Word.

A document can inherit the title of its template; if a template has a title, the same title appears in documents based on that template.

To view document properties from Microsoft Word, click Properties on the File menu. Click the Summary tab to see the title of the document, or click the Contents tab to see the title.

NOTE: If you change the document title, the updated title does not appear on the Contents tab until you click OK and then reopen the Properties dialog box.

To view the properties of a document from Windows, right-click the document in Windows Explorer, and then click Properties on the shortcut menu that appears. Click the Summary tab and the Statistics tab to get information about the file.

The Contents tab can be used to show the organization of the document by displaying the contents of the heading styles Heading 1 through Heading 3 paragraphs. (H1 through H3 headings are also displayed for Web pages.)

To allow the text formatted with Heading 1, Heading 2, or Heading 3 styles to appear on the Contents tab, follow these steps:

  1. In your Word document, format the text that you want to appear on the Contents tab with the Heading 1, Heading 2, or Heading 3 style, and then save your document.For more information about how to format text with a style, click Microsoft Word Help on the Help menu, type apply a style in the Office Assistant or the Answer Wizard, and then click Search to view the topics returned.

  1. On the File menu, click Properties.
  2. On the Summary tab, select the Save preview picture check box, and then click OK.

NOTE: If Save preview picture is not selected, the first word, phrase, or sentence that appears in the document when it is saved for the first time will be displayed on the Contents tab.

When you now view the Contents tab, the organization of the document based on the heading styles (Heading 1, Heading 2, and Heading 3) is displayed.

Text that appears on the Contents tab may be used as search criteria when you are trying to find a particular document. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Close your Word document.
  2. On the File menu, click Open.
  3. In the Open dialog box, click Advanced.
  4. In the Advanced Find dialog box, under the Define more criteria section, change the Property box to Contents. Change the Condition and Value boxes to what you want to search for, and then click Find Now.

Keywords: kbprb KB253008