Table of Contents

Special Layout

Normally a book's table of contents should be automatically generated for you. You define each section heading, like Chapter One and Chapter Two and Chapter Three and so on, with the "Heading 1" style. Then you just plunk down a Table of Contents entry wherever you want it to go, and POOF it fills in all the page numbers for you. That entry can easily be updated any time you want it to, automatically, so it's wholly up to date. I cover that in my page on Table of Contents.

However, what if you have a special situation where you CANNOT have your table of contents entries neatly defined with Heading 1 / Heading 2 types of styles?

For example, while it's easy enough to tag a table of contents from headings like:

Chapter One

with a style and use that properly in your table of contents, what if instead your chosen chapter heading reads like this:


If you tried to tag that series of letters as a heading, then the entry in your table of contents would also be one letter on each line. That would make your table of contents incredibly hard to use.

This type of situation will also happen if you have a multi-line table of contents or other similar situations. There are all sorts of cases where you have a chapter heading which just doesn't work well as a table of contents entry.

On one hand, you could manually create a table of contents that was just decorative. That is, you could make a page in your book where you manually type in each entry, hit a bunch of dots, and manually type in a page number. That's a royal pain to maintain - and it's non-functional in ebooks. People expect ebooks to have a functional table of contents where they can hop to a section. They don't want to have to manually scroll through page after page to get to the section they want to read.

So here's what you do.

Step One: Format Your Book

Choose whatever font typeface and size and style that you want to use for your chapter headings. If you want to use Times New Roman 14 point bold, with one letter per line like above, then go for it. This is your book. You can lay it out any way you wish.

Turn on the Navigation Pane under View - Navigation Pane. You should really work with this on anyway, because it makes it easier to move around in your document. But you'll really want it on for this process so you can see what you're doing.

Step Two: Set Heading 1 Style to Match First Letter

In our above example, the first "C" of the chapter heading is Times New Roman 14 point. OK, so click on Home, and in the Styles section find Heading 1. Right-click on it to MODIFY it. Set it to Times New Roman 14 point bold. Save that.

Step Three: Select First Part of Heading - Set it to Heading 1

Simply select the beginning C in CHAPTER1. With the C selected, click on the Heading 1 style in the top ribbon bar. The letter C **should not change its appearance**. You've told Heading 1 style to look just like the text already looked there. If something changes, go edit the Heading 1 style and modify it until it matches the rest of that text.

Even though it doesn't LOOK any different, you should now have a letter C in your navigation pane on the left. This indicates that your C is, indeed, tagged as a Heading 1 style and can now be used for navigation.

Step Four: Insert your Table of Contents

Go to where you want your Table of Contents to be. Click on References - Table of Contents. Insert an automatic one.

You should now see a table of contents entry with the first line being "C" linking to the actual page number.

Voila! It worked!

Now go through the remaining chapters and tag the first letter of each entry. Your Navigation Pane should fill in with those entries. When you are all set assigning a Heading 1 style to each first letter, return to your Table of Contents. Right-click on it and choose Update Field. It will regenerate the whole table for you.

Step Five: Manually Add In Text

If you went the route of using consistent names, then this is easy. Just paste in "hapter" after each C in paste-paste-paste succession. It should take maybe 10 seconds total. Then go down the list with your arrow key and type in 1, 2, 3, etc. It'll be quick and easy. And then you're set! Even if you have to later regenerate the table for some reason, just choose "update page numbers only". It'll leave all your text modifications perfectly in place.

Ask with any questions!

Parts of a Book - Overview

What Does It Cost to Ghostwrite a Book?
Lisa Shea's Editing Services
Lisa Shea Free Ebooks
Lisa Shea Full Library of Published Books

Getting Your Book Published
Writing Tips and Online Books

Lisa Shea Medieval Romance Novels
Online Literary Magazines

Lisa Shea Website Main Page